Keywords: Radial nerve compression, peripheral nerve injury, wrist drop (PubMed Search)
The radial nerve is susceptible to compressive neuropathy against the spiral grove of the humerus which can lead to neuropraxia.
When the upper arm is compressed against a chair back or bar edge sometimes from a lost battle with alcohol: Saturday night palsy.
When another individual sleeps on someone’s arm overnight compressing the radial nerve: Honeymoon palsy
From nerve compression from improper technique with crutches: Crutch palsy
If diagnosis not clear from history, DDx includes other entities that can also present with isolated wrist, thumb/finger drop
Horses: Radial verve palsy, CVA, C7 compression
Zebras: Lead toxicity, acute porphyrias (often polyneuropathy but upper extremity before lower and frequently distal extensors
Careful history and exam important in differentiating
In cases of peripheral compression against the spital groove the triceps maintains strength.
The distal extensors lose strength (wrist and fingers)
Including the thumb abduction (abductor pollicis longus is radial-innervated)
AND so will the brachioradialis
The brachioradialis (despite being a forearm flexor) has dual innervation from the radial nerve in 80% of people.
Brachioradialis strength is often preserved in a central lesion.
Best tested with arm supported on a surface in mid pronation/supination (hammer curl position) and have patient flex against resistance and evaluate muscle strength and bulk.
Category: Airway Management
Keywords: Concussion, risk, head impact (PubMed Search)
Head Impact Exposure and Concussion Incidence
There has been a major focus on head impact biomechanics as a cause of single-impact concussion in football.
The role of repeated subclinical (without diagnosed concussion) head impact exposure (HIE)
during the preseason and regular season may also be contributory.
There may exist individualized concussion tolerance levels. This threshold may be reduced by the burden of sustained subconcussive impacts
NCAA Division 1 football athletes sustain a median of 426 impacts over the course of a football season
652 impacts/season in high school football
Total head impact exposure during the preseason occurred at 2x the rate of the regular season
This association was investigated over 1120 athlete seasons from 6 NCAA D1 football programs across 5 years
Head Impact Telemetry was used to record head impact exposure
Elevated preseason HIE was strongly associated with preseason and in season concussion incidence
Total season HIE was strongly associated with total season concussion incidence.
Conclusion: There is a prolonged effect of HIE on concussion risk starting with preseason football.
Athletes with higher preseason HIE may have higher risk of concussion for the entire fall season.
In 2016, the Ivy League eliminated full contact practices from the regular season in addition to their existing limits on the amount of full contact in practice during the spring and preseason.
Currently, the NCAA has the following limitations: Teams won’t be allowed to hold full-contact practices on more than two days in a row. Each practice session is limited to only 75 minutes of full contact, in addition to a limit of two preseason scrimmages.
Stemper BD, et al; CARE Consortium Investigators. Association between Preseason/Regular Season Head Impact Exposure and Concussion Incidence in NCAA Football. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 Jun 1;54(6):912-922.
Keywords: Boxer, reduction (PubMed Search)
28-year-old male present with dorsal hand pain after “losing his temper”
On exam, you note dorsal swelling, tenderness, and deformity
AP, lateral and oblique views are obtained.
There is no rotational deformity but using the lateral view, you note that there is angulation
Measured as the shaft of the metacarpal as compared to the mid-point of the fracture fragment
Acceptable shaft angulation generally accepted to be less than 40°
Patient has greater that acceptable angulation so you have to perform closed reduction
After appropriate pain control consider the “90-90 method.”
Flex the MCP, DIP, and PIP joints to 90 degrees.
This positioning stretches the MCP collateral ligaments helping to optimize reduction
Next, apply volar pressure over the dorsal aspect of the fracture site while applying pressure axially to the flexed PIP joint.
Best demonstrated below
Keywords: Varus, knee (PubMed Search)
4-year-old patient comes to the ED for an unrelated complaint and you notice that his knees appear to be touching while his ankles remain apart.
Genu Varum or “knock knees” may be caused by Infantile Blount’s disease
-A progressive pathologic condition causing genu varum in children between ages 2 to 5
- Centered at the tibia
-Bilateral in up to 80%
-More common in boys
-Leg length discrepancy
- Articular incongruity
Risk factors: Early walkers (<1 year), overweight, large stature, Hispanic and African American
Results in disruption of normal cartilage growth at the MEDIAL aspect of the proximal tibia while LATERAL growth continues normally
May complain of knee soreness or subjective instability
On physical exam
Focal angulation of the proximal tibia
Lateral thrust during stance phase of walking (brief lateral shift of proximal fibula and tibia)
No tenderness or effusion
Imaging: Plain film shows varus deformity of the proximal tibia with medial beaking (beak like appears of bone) and downward slope of the proximal tibia metaphysis (increased metaphyseal-diaphyseal angle)
Treatment depends upon the age of the child and the severity
Successful in up to 80%
Note: In adolescent variant bracing is ineffective and surgery is only treatment
: Genu varum is normal in children <2 years old and becomes neutral at 14 months
DDX: Physiologic varus, Rickets
Keywords: Elbow, osteochondritis, capitellum (PubMed Search)
9-year-old male left hand dominant, presents with left elbow pain.
He is a future “star pitcher,” says his coach dad. “Doc, I bet you didn’t know that although only 10% of people throw with their left hand almost a 1/3rd of MLB pitchers are lefties. He is 3x more likely than a righty to pitch in MLB.” “Maybe I’m asking him to throw too much.”
Hx: Lateral elbow pain and “stiffness” worse with activity that is better with rest
PE: Lateral elbow tenderness (capitellum) with slight (approx. 20 degrees) decreased loss of extension. Minimal swelling noted.
Dx: Panner's disease refers to osteochondrosis of the capitellum (similar to Legg Calve Perthes). Likely due to AVN from repetitive trauma. May also be due to endocrine disturbances.
Affects the dominant elbow of boys between the ages of 5 and 10
Associated with the repetitive trauma of throwing or gymnastics.
Must be differentiated from osteochondrosis dissecans which occurs in the older child >13yo when the ossification of the capitellum is complete
The articular surface of the capitellum may appear irregular or flattened with areas of radiolucency (43%). Loose bodies not seen with Panners, much more likely with OCD lesions.
Treatment: Ice and NSAIDs. Avoid pitching/gymnastics etc. until full radiographic and clinical healing. If significant pain and/or swelling place patient in long arm posterior splint for 7-10 days. Resolution may take several months and up to one year.
Keywords: Concussion, psychiatric, hospitalization (PubMed Search)
A recent study investigated the association between concussion and subsequent mental health conditions in a pediatric population.
Retrospective cohort study. Pediatric patients aged 5 to 18 years who presented to an ED, PCP or mental health practitioner from April 2010, to March 2020, in Ontario, Canada.
Primary outcome: Time to first diagnosis with a mental health condition during follow-up
Secondary outcomes: 1) self-harm 2) psychiatric hospitalization 3) death by suicide.
Mental health conditions: anxiety and neurotic disorders, adjustment reactions, behavioral disorders, mood and eating disorders, schizophrenia, substance use disorder, suicidal ideation, and disorders of psychological development.
Study group, almost 450,000 patients. Age and sex matching between those with concussion and those who experienced an orthopedic injury.
A significant association (P < .001) was found between concussion and mental health conditions
A significant association emerged between concussion and self-harm and psychiatric hospitalization
No association with suicide
Conclusion: Concussion was significantly associated with risk of mental illness, psychiatric hospitalization and self-harm but not death by suicide.
Concussed patients had an almost 40% higher rate of mental health conditions compared to controls (adjusted hazard ratio 1.39)
Take home: Screen patients who return to the ED with post concussive symptoms for mental health symptoms/concerns and provide appropriate awareness for parents
Ledoux A, Webster RJ, Clarke AE, et al. Risk of Mental Health Problems in Children and Youths Following Concussion. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(3):e221235.
Category: Airway Management
Keywords: PRP, hematoma, muscle tear (PubMed Search)
Treatment of Hamstring Strains in Athletes
28 year old athlete presents to the ED and diagnosed with a hamstring strain
Localized swelling, moderate pain and a small limp. Incomplete tearing of the muscle
He is worried that he will miss the remainder of his season and when he returns will reinjure the same hamstring
Consider referral to sports medicine/orthopedics
A recent study looked at use of ultrasound guided hematoma aspiration followed by platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment on recovery in acute hamstring injuries
55 male athletes between ages 18 -32 weighing between 170 and 260lbs
27 with treatment protocol plus rehabilitation and 28 treated conservatively (rehabilitation)
All had Grade 2 hamstring injuries diagnosed on MRI
Partial muscle tear (<50% cross sectional area)
Note: Grade 2 hamstring injuries are often associated with INTERmuscle hematoma and subsequent scarring. This can lead to persistent pain/discomfort and reinjury
Average return to play time was 32.4 days in the standard of care group
Average return to play time was 23.5 days in the intervention group (P<0.001)
Recurrence rate of hamstring strain was 28.6% in the standard of care group
Recurrence rater of hamstring strain was <4% in the intervention group (P=0.025)
Athletes with grade 2 hamstring injuries treated with hematoma aspiration and PRP injection into the strain had significantly shorter return-to-play and much lower recurrence rate that athletes treated with rehabilitation alone
Trunz LM, et al. Effectiveness of Hematoma Aspiration and Platelet-rich Plasma Muscle Injections for the Treatment of Hamstring Strains in Athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 Jan 1;54(1):12-17.
Keywords: knee osteoarthritis, plain film (PubMed Search)
The knee is one of the most commonly affected joints from osteoarthritis (OA).
Patients will complain of knee pain, swelling and stiffness.
This leads to disability as it interferes with walking, using stairs at home and getting in and out of chairs and the bath without assistance.
Increasing incidence due to aging of the general population and rising rates of obesity.
Patients frequently present to the ED for knee pain and imaging is often obtained.
Diagnosis of knee OA can be made with an appropriate history and imaging that shows osteophytes and joint space narrowing.
The best views for knee OA include 1) PA weight-bearing & 2) 45 degree of knee flexion
Note: Weight-bearing radiographs will demonstrate greater joint space narrowing than non-weight-bearing radiographs
Of the 3 compartments of the knee, the medial tibiofemoral compartment is most commonly affected > patellofemoral compartment > lateral tibiofemoral compartment.
Examples of knee OA
Category: Visual Diagnosis
23 y/o otherwise healthy Male presents for approx. 3 month history of Right leg mass. It is painful with activity (deep and sharp) but not enlarging. Patient remembers a fall from a bicycle 6 months ago, with negative imaging for fracture.
What is the diagnosis?
Keywords: Quadriceps contusion, immobilization, hematoma (PubMed Search)
Mechanism: Blunt trauma from ball, helmet, stick
Usually to the central region
Damage to highly vascular area of the muscle and to local blood vessels can cause hematoma formation
Typical trauma history and pain worse with muscle activation (knee flexion)
Physical exam: Bruising, tenderness, palpable mass/hematoma
Goals of care: Minimize intramuscular bleeding
Treatment: NSAIDS, crutches, unique type of immobilization
Attempt to increase resting length of the quadriceps muscle to facilitate early healing and return to function
Note: Left untreated, large contusions may result in myositis ossificans
Keywords: hamstring, strain, muscle tear (PubMed Search)
Prevalence varies by sport ranging from 8 to 25 percent with a high recurrence rate frequently during the ensuing sport season, usually in next 2 months but may extend up to one year!
Highest in sports that involve rapid acceleration and deceleration
3 highest risk sports - football and men’s and women’s soccer
Average time lost 17-21 days
Injury much less common in younger athletes
The hamstring is composed of three muscles: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.
Primarily involved in knee flexion and hip extension
Biceps femoris is most commonly injured
Simple grading system using 3 grades
Grade 1 – mild strain
Grade 2 – Partial tear
Grade 3 – Complete tear
Proximal injuries are more common than distal injuries, occurring at the musculotendinous junction
Avulsion fractures of the ischium occur rarely occur in adults but may occur in skeletally immature athletes
When watching a sporting event you will see the athlete grab the buttock or upper thigh. They usually cannot return to play. Most grade 2 or 3 injuries will require crutches. If seeing them the following day significant bruising may be seen.
Numerous modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors have been identified including:
*Weakness of ipsilateral quadriceps or contralateral hamstring, hamstring, hip & quadriceps tightness/poor flexibility, poor warm-up, sudden increased training volume and muscle fatigue.
*Older age (risk increase may begin as early as age 23)
Prior hamstring injury (up to 6x increased risk)
**Premature return to sport increases the risk of reinjury
Differential Diagnosis: Lumbar radiculopathy, sciatic nerve irritation or compression, stress fracture of femur.
Refer to sports medicine/orthopedics for avulsion injuries, complete proximal complete tears and partial or complete distal tears
Category: Airway Management
Keywords: Caffeine, Exercise, VO2 max (PubMed Search)
Caffeine is probably the most wildly used and studied drug/supplement in the world.
It has been shown to enhance exercise capacity and performance.
Mechanism of action is likely multifactorial and involves adenosine receptor antagonism via direct CNS action improving mental alertness, reaction time and reducing the perceived exertion rate (pain).
To no surprise, amateur and elite athletes use caffeine to improve performance.
The well-accepted dosage of caffeine to improve performance is between 3 and 6 mg/kg, approximately 60 min before exercise. This dosage promotes (between 1 and 8%) performance gains in aerobic exercises and exercises with high glycolytic demand from cyclists to tennis players to weightlifters.
Consider the lower end of this range if interested in trying this on your own.
In an evaluation of 20,686 urine samples of elite athletes, almost 75% of the samples contained caffeine in concentrations higher than 0.1 μg/mL
Caffeine also increases maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max)
23 elite athletes were tested twice with and twice without caffeine.
Randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study.
Caffeine 4.5 mg/kg taken 45 minutes before exercise
Measures: Time to exhaustion and VO2 max.
Caffeine increased time to exhaustion and VO2 max, thereby increasing overall performance.
If you are going to incorporate using caffeine before your next workout, I suggest espresso shots for extra caffeine without the volume of a large cup of coffee. Beware of known side effects such as jitters, anxiousness and difficulties with sleep if taken later in the day. Also consider stomach upset digestive issues, and increased heart rate.
Keywords: Elbow, fracture, radiology (PubMed Search)
Presentations of Fracture in Nursemaids Elbow
Study group: Visits by children younger than 10 years, with a diagnosis of radial head subluxation at 1 of 45 pediatric EDs from 2010 to 2018.
Retrospective cohort study of 88,466 ED visits for radial head subluxation
Outcome: Missed fracture (return visit for upper extremity fracture within 7 days of the index visit).
Median patient age was 2.1 years,
59% of visits were by female patients,
60% of cases occurred in the left arm.
Radiography was performed at 28.5% of visits (Range 19.8% to 41.7%.)
Extremity fractures were observed in 247 cases, representing 0.3% of the cohort.
The odds of missed fracture were higher in:
Only 0.3% of children with a diagnosis of radial head subluxation subsequently received a diagnosis of an upper extremity fracture within 7 days of the index visit.
Missed fractures were commonly about the elbow such as a supracondylar fracture. However, this study also found a significant proportion of missed fractures in other locations (e.g. shoulder, wrist), highlighting the importance of a careful physical examination, and the limitations of localizing pain in younger children.
Recurrence was common, and the risk of recurrence decreased with increasing age at first presentation. Overall, radial head subluxation recurrence was 8.7% after the first visit VERSUS 12%-13% in children younger than 2 years. THese patients are likely to return to the ED with a recurrence within 2 years. These findings should help inform anticipatory guidance to parents regarding the risk of recurrence based on their child’s age.
Keywords: Elbow, dislocation, instability (PubMed Search)
The classic mechanism for nursemaids elbow is axial traction on a pronated forearm and extended elbow.
The force allows a portion of the annular ligament to slip over the radius.
Consider this diagnosis with other mechanisms of injury especially if the exam is not suggestive of fracture.
Suspect in a patient in minimal distress with arm held semi flexed and pronated.
A recent retrospective study looked at other mechanisms of injury.
69 subjects with a median age of 2.5 years
The most common mechanisms of injury were fall (57%), direct hit to the elbow (16%), and rolling over (7%).
Some studies note the left elbow is more commonly involved but this is likely due to most guardians being right-handed, thereby holding the child’s left hand
Li N, Khoo B, Brown L, Young T. Nonaxial Traction Mechanisms of Nursemaid's Elbow. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2021 Jun 1;37(6)
Keywords: Concussion, sex differences, head injury (PubMed Search)
The total number of concussions tripled among female athletes aged 14 to 18 years during a 20-year period from 2000 to 2019.
Query of National Injury Surveillance System
Female athletes with sports-related concussions or closed head injuries who presented to the ED
In 14- to 18-year-old females the number of concussions increased from 9,000 in 2000 to 32,000 in 2019.
65% of all concussions among female athletes occurred in soccer, basketball, cheerleading, softball, and volleyball.
Association between an increase of 308.7 annual concussions per 10,000 annual female participants.
In a study of more than 80,000 teenage players across US high schools, female athletes are 1.9 times more likely to develop a sports-related concussion than are their male counterparts in comparable sports.
In boys, the most common way of becoming concussed was through direct contact with another player (50%)
In girls, the most common way of becoming concussed was after colliding with another object (ball/goalpost).
This mechanism may partly explain another finding: Boys were also more likely to be removed from play immediately after a suspected head injury than were girls
Keywords: Concussion, active recovery, exercise (PubMed Search)
The Role of Active Rehabilitation in Concussion Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
Concussions make up 70% to 90% of all traumatic brain injuries
During the recovery process, prolonged rest has been shown to slow recovery and precipitate secondary symptoms of fatigue, reactive depression, anxiety and physical deconditioning.
As a result, a gradual increase in low-level activities has been encouraged after 24-48 h of rest.
23 articles for a total of 2547 concussed individuals, 49% female, both kids and adults. Included both sport related and non-sport related concussion.
None of the studies reported any adverse events in symptomatic participants after subthreshold exacerbation aerobic exercise.
Duration ranged from 15-20 minutes per session or until symptom exacerbation.
Subthreshold activity generally targeted 80% of max heart rate achieved during a graded symptom threshold test.
Every study showed improved concussion symptom scores with a physical activity intervention.
Most common treatment duration was 6 weeks (Range 1-12 wk)
Best outcomes if initiated with 2-3 weeks after injury but intervention beneficial in chronic phases of recovery as well.
The intervention of physical activity decreases post concussion symptom scores and the overall effect across studies was large and positive.
Optimal intensity, duration and time to initiation of exercise intervention needs further investigation.
Exercise effect is likely multifactorial including:
One of the best effects I have seen in treating these patients is that active exercise allows a proactive approach to patient recovery. Patients become less focused on every minor symptom or irregularity.
Carter KM, et al. The Role of Active Rehabilitation in Concussion Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021 Sep 1;53(9):1835-1845.
Keywords: heat stroke, marathon (PubMed Search)
Exertional Heat Stroke at the Boston Marathon
Study goal: To assess for possible associations between exertional heat stroke (EHS) and sex, age, prior performance and environmental conditions
Data sourced from 2015-2019 Boston Marathon races.
Why Boston: The Boston marathon is one of the only marathons that require qualifying times for entry for a majority of runners which yields a high proportion of faster than average runners. The race is frequently characterized by extreme weather conditions, including warm and humid days.
Results: 136,161 race starters. Incidence of EHS was 3.7 cases per 10,000 starters.
Note: Twin Cities Marathon found 3 cases per 10,000 runners.
Mean age of runners was 43.3. Female 45%, male 55%.
Significant associations between sex and age, sex and start wave and age group and start wave.
Sex not associated with increased EHS incidence.
Age < 30 and assignment to the first 2 waves (faster runners) was significantly associated with increased EHS.
All cases of EHS occurred with average wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) were 17° – 20° C.
Linear correlation between EHS and incidence in addition to increases in WBGT from start to peak.
72.5% of cases were race finishers. Non finishers presented after mile 18.
Almost 30% developed post treatment hypothermia.
Almost 2/3rds were discharged directly, the remainder required hospital transport.
Authors estimate needing at least 4 ice water immersion tubs per 10,000 runners with potential of needing 8-10 if race day is humid.
Conclusions: Overall, EHS represented a small percentage of medical encounters but required significant resources.
Younger and faster runners are at high risk of EHS.
Greater increases in heat stress from start to peak worsens risk.
Definitions: WGBT - The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) is a measure of the heat stress in direct sunlight, which takes into account: ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, sun angle and cloud cover (solar radiation). This differs from the heat index, which takes into consideration temperature and humidity and is calculated for shady areas.
Breslow RG, Collins JE, Troyanos C, Cohen MC, D'Hemecourt P, Dyer KS, Baggish A. Exertional Heat Stroke at the Boston Marathon: Demographics and the Environment. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021 Sep 1;53(9):1818-1825.
Keywords: Sport concussion, brain injury (PubMed Search)
Athletes with a history of concussion had an average cerebral blood flow of 40 mL per minute, per 100 grams of brain tissue.
Athletes without a history of concussion had an average cerebral blood flow of 53 mL per minute, per 100g of brain tissue.
In the weeks following concussion, those athletes with a prior history of concussion had microstructural changes in the corpus callosum.
Effects were seen in the absence of differences in SCAT domains or time to return to sport.
Acute and Chronic Effects of Multiple Concussions on Midline Brain Structures. Churchill et al. Neurology Aug 2021.
Keywords: pressure, exercise, lower extremity (PubMed Search)
Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS)
Similar pathology to acute compartment syndrome except symptoms are related to activity (frequently running) and abate with rest.
95% involve lower extremity
Inappropriately elevated tissue pressure in one or more lower leg compartments associated with exercise
Anterior compartment most frequently involved
As tissue pressure increases, local perfusion is decreased. This leads to symptoms of pain, pressure, cramping and paresthesias.
Also commonly associated with team sports such as soccer, lacrosse and field hockey.
More likely in competitive athletes than recreational.
Patient will be symptom free at time of ED evaluation
Make diagnosis of CECS with history
Diagnosis with compartment pressure measurements done in office with treadmill exercise.
Non operatively, gait retraining programs have been shown to help symptoms. Appropriate if symptoms are mild.
Surgical treatment involves a minimally invasive fasciotomy
Post surgery success rates are between 63-100% with recurrence rates up to 20%
Keywords: ketamine, analgesia, morphine (PubMed Search)
Low dose ketamine was compared to morphine for the treatment of patients with long bone fractures
126 patients with upper and lower extremity long bone fractures were divided into two treatment groups
Pain scores were compared pre and at 10 minutes post treatment
Pain severity significantly decreased in both groups to a similar degree
Increase adverse effects (emergence phenomenon) noted in ketamine group but all effects resolved spontaneously without intervention.
Conclusion: Analgesic effect of ketamine is similar to morphine in patients with long bone fractures.
Majidinejad S, Esmailian M, Emadi M. Comparison of Intravenous Ketamine with Morphine in Pain Relief of Long Bones Fractures: a Double Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. Emerg (Tehran). 2014;2(2):77-80.