Penn Orthopaedics

Penn Orthopaedics

Thursday, August 21, 2014

What is Musculoskeletal Pain?

Let’s face it, “musculoskeletal pain” is tough to pronounce, let alone explain or fully understand.

Musculoskeletal PainThat being said, musculoskeletal disorders are actually one of the most common medical conditions, affecting approximately one-third of all adults in the United States. And that number is growing exponentially, thanks to an aging and still active population.

In the simplest terms, musculoskeletal pain affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and bones. The pain can be acute (having a rapid onset with severe symptoms) or chronic (long-lasting) and can be in one location or widespread.

People tend to explain it as their entire body aching or that their muscles feel as though they have been pulled or overworked with the most common symptoms being pain, fatigue or a disruption in normal sleep patterns.

Musculoskeletal pain can affect anyone and impact all major areas of the body, including the:
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Wrists
  • Back
  • Hips
  • Legs
  • Knees
  • Feet

How is musculoskeletal pain diagnosed and treated?

Musculoskeletal pain and disorders can be treated by a number of different medical specialists, typically associated in one way or another with orthopaedics. Diagnosing musculoskeletal pain requires a physician to take numerous things into account. They will begin by thoroughly reviewing your medical history, looking for possible causes of your pain (strenuous work conditions, sports, repetitive motions, etc.). Your physician will then conduct a hands-on examination looking for the source of pain. Finally, they will likely conduct various diagnostic procedures that may include X-rays, blood tests, CT scans and MRIs, to know the physical extent of that pain.

Once the cause of your pain and discomfort has been determined, your physician will go through the treatment options available to you. For acute pain, physical therapy, exercise programs, analgesics (such as acetaminophen), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and injections are all possibilities. For those suffering from more severe pain, surgery may be the appropriate treatment option. Surgeries could include: arthroplasty (or replacement), arthroscopy, soft tissue and cartilage repair.

Reinventing orthopaedic care

The Penn Musculoskeletal Center, the first of its kind in Philadelphia, is revolutionizing the way musculoskeletal care is delivered. The Center provides the latest diagnostic techniques and the most advanced surgical and non-surgical options for a range of orthopaedic disorders, injuries and pain found in joints, muscles or bones.

The Center also brings clinicians together from numerous specialties, including orthopaedics, rheumatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain medicine, spine surgery and musculoskeletal radiology. This team-based model of care creates a seamless, integrated patient experience and the most efficient process of diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Learn more about how the expert surgeons at the
the Penn Musculoskeletal Center can help get you back to living pain-free.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Should I See a Sports Medicine Doctor?

Penn Sports Medicine
Perhaps the only thing more frustrating than sustaining an injury is trying to figure out what type of doctor to see.

Should a college athlete that sustained an injury during a football game see the same type of physician as an active individual who was injured biking with their children?

The answer, which may come as a surprise to many, is yes. Both types of injuries, and patients, can be treated by sports medicine physicians.

What exactly is sports medicine?

Sports medicine focuses on helping people improve their athletic performance (regardless of the level), recover from injury and help to prevent future injuries. Knee, leg, back, shoulder and hand injuries are a few of the common disorders treated.

Sports medicine physicians are experts in physical activity, with specialized training in musculoskeletal conditions and the medical concerns of active individuals. The goal of a sports medicine doctor is to help you get active or stay active, particularly when you’re sidelined by injury.

Penn Orthopaedics has a team of physicians that are specially trained in this specific field. The Penn Sports Medicine team works with patients to develop individualized care plans to help them return to normal activities as quickly as possible.

“We use the same technologies at Penn Sports Medicine to treat athletes as we do to take care of patients that are not playing baseball, soccer or football,” said Brian J. Sennett, MD. “The overall goal is to work with every patient to establish their diagnosis, explain what's wrong, how we are going to get them better and lead them through that process.”

When should you see a sports medicine physician?

Still a bit unsure as to when to seek a consultation with a Penn Sports Medicine physician? If any of the statements below apply to you, it may be time to do so.
  • Acute Injury: After sustaining a sudden injury, we can help you determine exactly what is injured and whether you will recover most effectively with – or without – surgery.
  • Chronic Injury: Long-lasting injuries and areas of discomfort will often improve or resolve with appropriate rehabilitation. We can identify and correct the training errors or biomechanical abnormalities that hinder your performance.
  • Injury Prevention: By helping you understand why you sustained an injury – and not just what was injured – we will help keep you injury-free for future races and events.
  • Performance Enhancement: Whether you are just starting a new fitness program or wishing to take your abilities to the next level, we can connect you to a team of professionals – physical therapists, registered dietitians, podiatrists, and more – to provide a comprehensive and well-rounded approach and maximize your athletic potential.

Learn more about how the expert surgeons at the
Penn Sports Medicine Center can help get you back to living pain-free.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Penn Orthopaedics Recognized by U.S. News & World Report

Penn Orthopaedics has been ranked among the nation’s leaders, according to the U.S. News & World Report rankings released earlier this month.

Top orthopaedics in Philadelphia
In addition, the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian (HUP/PPMC) are ranked among the top hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The publication's prestigious annual ranking of hospitals placed HUP/PPMC 7th in its "Honor Roll", in recognition for excellence in multiple specialties. HUP/PPMC also ranks #1 in the region, while Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) is ranked 6th in the region.

With over 30 orthopaedic surgeons spread across ten subspecialties, Penn Orthopaedics offers every aspect of musculoskeletal care – from total joint replacement to pain management and sports medicine. Focused on getting the patient back to living pain-free, physicians work with patients to develop a treatment and rehabilitation plan that best meets their needs.

How the Rankings are Determined

To create the 2014-15 rankings, U.S. News & World Report looked at data from nearly 5,000 hospitals and surveyed more than 9,500 physicians. Death rates, patient safety and hospital reputation are a few of the many factors considered. 144 hospitals were nationally ranked in a specialty. The Honor Roll features 17 of the Best Hospitals that scored near the top in at least six specialties.

Read more about the U.S. News & World Report 2014-15 Best Hospital Rankings

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Introducing the New Penn Musculoskeletal Center

Reinventing Orthopaedic Care

Penn Orthopaedics is proud to announce a whole new way of delivering orthopaedic care, the Penn Musculoskeletal Center.

The Center consists of 49 exam rooms and occupies two floors of Penn Medicine University City, a new 200,000 square-foot facility located at 3737 Market Street.

The Ideal Patient Environment

Penn Musculoskeletal Center
The Penn Musculoskeletal Center will open August, 25.
The Penn Musculoskeletal Center was meticulously planned with the patient in mind. As a result, we created an ideal environment for personalized patient care - with emphasis on an improved experience to treat the range of orthopaedic disorders, injuries and other issues found in joints, bones or muscles.

This unique patient experience is managed by a dedicated care coordinator who is a single point of contact. Personal care coordinators schedule pre-admissions testing and follow-up appointments, including appropriate rehab therapy.

Unlike other area institutes or centers, the Penn Musculoskeletal Center provides superior musculoskeletal care by a team of Penn experts from multiple medical specialties:
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Good Shepherd Penn Partners Therapy 
  • Pain Medicine
  • Family Medicine/Sports Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Rheumatology
  • Musculoskeletal Radiology 
The Center was designed for optimal patient care.
For those who need it, an advanced radiology center is located within the Center to provide services such as digital x-ray, computed tomography (CT scan), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) and ultrasound. Musculoskeletal radiologists are on-site to make the imaging process easier for patients.

Outpatient surgery is performed at The Surgery Center on the fifth floor of Penn Medicine University City. This facility is designed to maximize surgical efficiency, resulting in less patient waiting time – all set in a family-friendly environment.

All patient flow areas are organized by specific conditions in common hubs with interactive educational materials and digital exhibits to help educate about relevant conditions and treatment options.

The Penn Center for Human Performance

The Penn Center for Human Performance
The Penn Center for Human Performance will be one of kind in Philadelphia.
The Penn Musculoskeletal Center will also be home to the new Penn Center for Human Performance, which is slated to open in the fall of 2014.

At the Penn Center for Human Performance, patients with musculoskeletal disorders will be evaluated both before and after treatment in an effort to measure the success of the clinical care plan.

Using cutting edge technology, individuals will receive immediate feedback regarding their physiological and biomechanical disorder and the related medical or surgical treatment plan. The Penn Center for Human Performance will optimize care for both patients and athletes alike.

What is Musculoskeletal Care?

Musculoskeletal CareThe first of its kind in Philadelphia, the Penn Musculoskeletal Center is revolutionizing the way orthopaedic care is delivered.

The Center provides the latest diagnostic techniques and the most advanced surgical and non-surgical options for the range of orthopaedic disorders, injuries and pain found in joints, muscles or bones.

The Penn Musculoskeletal Center is designed with the sole purpose of helping individuals live pain-free.

Learn more about how the expert surgeons at the
the Penn Musculoskeletal Center can help get you back to living pain-free.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

If The Shoe Fits…Run!

Daniel C. Farber, MD, Foot and Ankle Surgeon, discusses the importance of picking the proper running shoe and offers advice while going through the selection process. 

To avid runners, there is much more to the sport than simply lacing up any type of running shoe. They know that selecting the proper shoe is an incredibly important part of preparing for any type of competition.

Running Shoe Selection
Daniel C. Farber, MD
If you're wearing a shoe that doesn't fit your feet properly, you have a better chance of developing an improper gait or poor biomechanics. This added pressure on the heel or ball of the foot could lead to pain, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, hallux valgus, (bunions) and lesser toe deformities.

When you're standing in the shoe store, most running shoes feel comfortable. Still, the true test doesn't come until you've pounded the pavement for several miles.

"Not all shoes are the same. Make sure you choose a shoe that fits your foot shape and running style," Dr. Farber recommends. "Remember that the most expensive shoe is not necessarily the best. The midrange shoes often have the more proven technology without the trendy price."

So, how do you sift through the many different brands and styles to ensure your feet stay happy and you stay pain-free?
  • Try on all shoes. Sizes among shoe brands and styles tend to vary. Don’t select shoes by the size marked inside the shoe. Judge the shoe by how it fits on your foot.
  • Select a shoe that conforms as nearly as possible to the shape of your foot.
  • Have your feet measured regularly. The size of your feet changes with age. For women, it may change during pregnancy.
  • Have BOTH feet measured. Most people have one foot larger than the other. Always fit to the larger foot.
  • Get fitted at the end of the day. The best time to measure your feet is at the end of the day when your feet are largest.
  • Stand during the fitting process. Standing allows you to check that there is adequate space (3/8" to 1/2") for your longest toe at the end of each shoe.
  • Comfort is important. Make sure the ball of the foot fits comfortably into the widest part (ball pocket) of the shoe.
  • Don’t expect them to stretch. Avoid purchasing shoes that feel too tight, expecting them to “stretch” to fit.
  • Minimize slippage. Your heel should fit comfortably in the shoe with a minimum amount of slippage.
  • Take a stroll. Walk in the shoes to make sure they fit and feel right.
Finally, remember that knowing when to replace your running shoes is just as important as picking the proper pair. Dr. Farber recommends that running shoes should be replaced every 3-6 months (or 300-500 miles) as they show signs of wear.

"With less activity, once a year is adequate Dr. Farber said. "If a shoe is in good condition, but has lost the cushioning of its insole, you can oftentimes simply rehab it with an over-the-counter insert."

"However, if the shoe looks and feels worn and doesn't support your foot well, replace it no matter what the age."

Highly skilled and highly specialized, Penn Orthopaedic physicians treat each joint condition, spinal disorder or sports injury with a personalized approach.
Learn more about Penn Orthopaedics.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Always on Call: The Role of Team Doctors Prior to NBA Draft

Each May, many of the top college and international basketball players come together for the NBA Draft Combine, a multi-day showcase occurring prior to the annual June NBA Draft. During this event, players are put through a variety of drills and interviews, their physical measurements are recorded and they are examined by team physicians.

Brian J. Sennett, MD
Penn Medicine is proud to serve as the Official Healthcare Provider of the Philadelphia 76ers. Through a team of core physicians, Penn Medicine provides medical services and treatments to the Sixers players.

Despite this very busy time of the year, Brian J. Sennett, MD, Head Team Physician & Orthopaedic Surgeon and Rahul Kapur, MD, Chief Medical Physician, took the time to provide just a glimpse of their roles during this very important offseason for the 76ers.

When did the medical team begin preparing for the NBA Draft?

Rahul Kapur, MD
Dr. Sennett: Our work for the draft really started during the season as we began compiling information on players we expected to enter the 2014 draft. For every player in attendance at the Combine, we prepared a short profile and continue to add to it throughout the offseason. It, obviously, ramped up once the season ended. Over the past few months all our focus shifted to the NBA Draft Combine and now to the draft itself.

Can you provide any insight as to what occurs at the NBA Draft Combine?

Dr. Kapur: Both of us attended the Combine in May. It’s truly a unique event. Groups of 10 to 15 physicians from various teams work together to perform physicals and various medical tests on the prospects. Some of the tests include a neurological evaluation, stress tests, pulmonary tests and lab work. From an orthopaedic standpoint, 6-10 images are taken of each player; as well as a thorough examination of any past injuries. It took about five hours to evaluate all 60 participants.

What happens after the Combine?

Dr. Sennett: After the Combine, Dr. Kapur and I compile detailed profiles of each player. We will then sit down with members of the front office and discuss every player. We may recommend players come to Philadelphia for further examination.

Dr. Kapur: There are also many players the team is interested in that don’t attend the Combine. Those players come to Philly and go through a thorough examination. We are in constant contact with the head trainer to see what players are coming next. As soon as we find out, we enter the players into the medical system and arrange all tests needed. There really are multiple departments needed in this process. We are on call 24/7 and could not accomplish what we do without the great work, across  Penn Medicine.

Where will you be spending draft night?

Dr. Sennett: We will be spending draft night at the Sixers Headquarters. We won’t know what the next moves will be, but we try to be prepared for any questions the front office may have throughout the evening. Not only do we need to have information on draft prospects readily available, but we also have to be ready for any possible trades the team is interested in. We need to be able to answer questions about nearly every player in the league.

Anything else you’d like to say about this partnership with the Sixers?

Dr. Kapur: It’s such a unique opportunity, not just for the players, but for us as well. We get to meet these young men and build relationships with some of them before they even come to the team. It’s really enjoyable to help the players and the organization grow.

Dr. Sennett: What an exciting time it is to be a fan of the Sixers. Not only are we fans, but we have the incredible opportunity to help shape the future of the organization. The Sixers are rebuilding and you can see the pieces are starting to fall in place for something really special. They are evaluating talent and we are helping to ensure that talent is around for years to come. We really enjoy providing care for the athletes and care for the team and, really, cannot wait to see the team continue to move forward.

For more information on the Penn Medicine Team, visit

Monday, June 16, 2014

Summertime Injuries – Penn Orthopaedics is Here to Help

Penn Orthopaedics
Summer is finally here and with it comes trips to the pool, going to the beach, outdoor runs, tending to our gardens, and firing up the grill.

For some, these extra activities are a kind of seasonal re-commitment to fitness, weight loss and relaxation. But these activities can also lead to unexpected injuries and accidents, some even needing medical attention.

As the motto goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Which means, knowing where to go if anything does happen is a good idea to have in mind.

“When the weather gets warmer, people tend to ramp up their activity,” said John D. Kelly IV, MD, Director of Sports Shoulder. “This can lead to overuse of certain joints, which then leads to extreme discomfort or worse.”

In case of injury, whether a sprained ankle, broken foot or any other musculoskeletal injury, the orthopaedic team at Penn Medicine is ready to help. In most cases, you can even see a physician on the same day.

“At the first signs of pain, it really is important to see a healthcare professional,” advises Kelly. “The quicker the injury can be diagnosed and treatment can begin, the quicker you can get back to enjoying the summer.”

Highly skilled and highly specialized, Penn Orthopaedic physicians treat each injury with a personalized approach. With ten orthopaedic subspecialties, physicians at Penn Orthopaedics not only treat more complex conditions - they are uniquely qualified to treat each condition individually.

Penn Orthopaedics offers same-day appointments for individuals looking to see a specialist promptly.

“You call with any musculoskeletal need and we’ll see you that day,” says L. Scott Levin, MD, chair of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Please be safe and enjoy this summer. If you need us, we’re a call (267-414-2983) or a click away.

Highly skilled and highly specialized, Penn Orthopaedic physicians treat each joint condition, spinal disorder or sports injury with a personalized approach.
Learn more about Penn Orthopaedics.