Rotator Cuff Injury and Treatment

November 15th, 2016

If you’ve ever played any competitive baseball or softball you’ve no doubt come across someone with a damaged rotator cuff. It may be a hard-throwing baseball pitcher, or a softball shortstop whose summer slate of 200+ games is just too much on his or her shoulder. The injury can be chronic, recurring every summer and calming down over the winter, or it can be acute and require surgery.

Either way, Dr. Desio is an expert in the treatment of rotator cuff injuries, whether that treatment involves rehabilitation or surgery.

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles in the shoulder whose job is to connect the upper arm bone (humerus) to the shoulder blade. The muscles in the area allow the shoulder to rotate, while the tendons provide stability. Together, they form a cuff around the humerus.

What are some common rotator cuff injuries?

  • Rotator cuff tendinitis — If you use your arm or arms over your head for activities such as throwing, spiking a volleyball, serving a tennis ball, or even painting, this can strain the rotator cuff. Rest, ice, and pain relievers can usually solve the problem.
  • Rotator cuff tears — A tear can happen immediately, such as when a pitcher tries to really snap off a curveball, but is usually the result of a rotator cuff that has been weakened by age or wear and tear. Pain and arm weakness are the symptoms.
  • Rotator cuff impingement — Here the tendons of the rotator cuff are squeezed between the humerus and a nearby bone called the acromion. Symptoms are similar to tendinitis.
  • Frozen shoulder — The humerus adheres to the shoulder blade, causing shoulder pain and stiffness. Rest and exercise can resolve this, or sometimes steroid injections.
  • Subacromial bursitis — This involves inflammation of the small sac of fluid that cushions the rotator cuff tendons from the acromion bone.

Diagnosing the problem

Dr. Desio employs a variety of available tests when diagnosing rotator cuff injuries. These can involve MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, ultrasound, or arthrograms (where dye is injected into the shoulder and x-rays taken). These are in addition to physical examination, and possible painful arc testing (testing motion and pain as the arm is raised above 90 degrees upward).


To address your rotator cuff injury, Dr. Desio may first employ pain medication or corticosteroid injections. These will usually be combined with physical therapy. If this regimen doesn’t solve your issues, as a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Desio may use arthroscopic or traditional surgery.

If you have any of the above-listed symptoms of rotator cuff injury, please give us a call at 508-363-6363 and let’s take a look.

Preventing Osteoporosis Begins Early

October 15th, 2016

When you think of osteoporosis, you may not think it’s something to be concerned about until you get older. The truth is you’re never too young to improve your bone health. The habits you adopt early in life can lay the groundwork for the health of your bones now and throughout your entire life.

Knowing the early warning signs of osteoporosis is a powerful tool to managing bone loss. Some of the initial indicators of bone loss include:

  • Cramps, muscles aches and bone pain
  • Receding gums
  • A weakened grip
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Loss in height

Some of the best ways you can protect your bones now is by:

  • Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Good sources of calcium include dairy, green leafy vegetables, tofu, nuts, bread made with fortified flour, and fish with bones like sardines and salmon. Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish like tuna and mackerel, fortified breakfast cereals, and eggs.
  • Exercise regularly. The best exercises to increase bone strength are those that are weight-bearing like tai chi, yoga, and brisk walking, and those that strengthen your muscles like lifting weights.
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol. Studies have shown a direct relationship between decreased bone density and tobacco and alcohol use. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about a cessation program that might work best for you. And if you imbibe, limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day.

It’s never too late to take steps to protect your bones. Keeping your bones strong and healthy means you are able to stay active into your older years. Take care of your bones now to help contribute to a better quality of life into the future.

Are you interested in learning more about early prevention of osteoporosis?
For more information about the best ways to care for your bones, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.636

Six Foods to Ease Arthritis Pain

September 15th, 2016

If you’re one of the more than 50 million adults living with some type of arthritis, you know how debilitating it can be to experience swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. It may come as a surprise to learn that growing evidence suggests that following a healthy diet and adding in certain foods can help alleviate joint pain and inflammation, including:

Foods that are rich and calcium and vitamin D help to strengthen your bones, so it’s a good idea to add or increase your intake of milk, cheese and yogurt. And thanks to Vitamin D, which is crucial for absorbing calcium, your immune system will benefit, as well.

Green Vegetables
Broccoli and Brussel sprouts are packed with vitamins K and C, which has been linked to the prevention of osteoarthritis. They’re also full of sulforaphane, a compound that inhibits cartilage damage in your joints.

Salmon, tuna, trout and other fatty fish are chock-full of imflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Try adding at least 3 to 4 ounces of fish to your diet on a weekly basis, or if you’re not a fan of fish, try eating soybeans like edamame, which are also low-fat and high in fiber and protein.

Tart cherries contain anthocyanin, an ingredient that not only give cherries their red color but helps relieve joint pain by reducing inflammation. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries are also rich in anthocyanin.

Citrus Fruits
Orange, limes and grapefruits are full of vitamin C, which can slow the onset of osteoarthritis and keep your joints healthy. Other foods rich in vitamin C include kiwi, pineapple, strawberries and cantaloupe.

This member of the allium family (along with onions and leeks) contains diallyl disulfide, a compound that may limit enzymes that damage cartilage. Eating foods containing garlic, onions and leeks can help decrease your chance of developing early osteoarthritis.

If you are interested in learning more about eating right to ease arthritis pain, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.

Don’t Get Sidelined by an ACL Injury

August 15th, 2016

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is one of four ligaments that help stabilize the knee joint and keep the lower leg from sliding too far forward. When you play sports that involve quick changes in motion like football, basketball or soccer, you are at greater risk for ACL injury. And if when this type of injury happens, it can abruptly end the season and may lead to surgery.

Here are some tips to help you protect your knee joint and prevent the prospect of surgery:

Preparation is Key
Before the season starts (at least one month), begin conditioning your body through endurance training. And don’t go full-force right away; ease into your training and buildup gradually to prevent injury.

Pay Attention to Form
Many sports involve jumping, landing, lunging and squatting. If done incorrectly, it can wreak havoc on your ankle. Be mindful of how you pivot, bend and land in order to reduce your risk of a collapsed knee, which is one of the most prominent risk factors for a torn ACL.

Build Strength and Balance
To reduce your risk of ACL injury, focus on strengthening your core, quadriceps, and hips. Make leg presses, lunges and squats a part of your exercise routine. And cross-train by using an elliptical machine or stationary bike.

Your body will not react kindly if you push yourself too much. When you engage in repetitive movements and intense activity without taking time off, you increase your risk of injury. Take care of yourself with adequate downtime, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep.

Think RICE
The tell-tale signs of an ACL injury include a cringe-worthy “pop,” followed by knee pain and swelling. When this happens, be sure to enlist the RICE procedure. Rest the muscle, ice the affected area, compress with bandages, and elevate your leg to decrease swelling.

If you are interested in learning more about how to avoid an ACL injury, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.

Knowing the Signs of a Dislocated Shoulder

July 15th, 2016

The shoulder is the most mobile joint in your body, which means it’s more likely to suffer a dislocation. When your upper arm bone pops out of its cup-shaped socket, it can be extremely painful. What’s more, once your shoulder dislocates once, it’s more prone to future dislocations. And when you dislocate your shoulder, you run the risk of damaging its surrounding areas. You may suffer nerve or vessel damage, as well as tear the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support your shoulder joint.

The three most common causes for a dislocated shoulder are due to the following:

  1. Sports injuries. Contact sports like hockey and football are a prime culprit for shoulder dislocation. Other sports where a dislocation is more common due to falls are volleyball, gymnastics and downhill skiing.
  2. Shoulder trauma. When your shoulder experiences a hard blow of any kind, like in a car accident, it’s more likely to dislocate.
  3. Falls. If you land on your shoulder during a fall, you put yourself at greater risk of dislocating your shoulder.

Signs and Symptoms of Dislocated Shoulder
If you notice any of the following, you may have a dislocated shoulder:

-          A deformed appearance in our shoulder area

-          Bruising and swelling

-          Joint immobility

-          Extreme pain

-          Numbness, weakness and tingling at and around the injury site

-          Muscle spasms that may increase your pain

Treating a Dislocated Shoulder
If you suspect your shoulder is dislocated, it’s important that you seek medical help right away. In the meantime:

-          Stabilize the joint. Do not attempt to force the shoulder back into place, as this can cause further damage. Instead, use a splint or sling to keep the shoulder in its current position.

-          Ice it. To help reduce swelling and pain, apply ice to your shoulder, which will help control internal bleeding and minimize the increase of fluids in the joint area.

If you are interested in learning more about how to maintain healthy bones and joints, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.

Sports Injury Warning Signs

May 15th, 2016

When you experience a severe sports injury like a bone fracture, for example, you know you’re going to be sidelined for a while. But oftentimes, sports injuries are not as obvious. They may start slowly and get progressively worse as time goes on, resulting in chronic aches and pains. Paying attention to the warning signs is key. By addressing the problem early on, you minimize the risk of it creating serious damage or becoming a long-term condition.

Pay attention to these sports injury warning signs:

  1. 1. Pain

If you experience pain in your knee, ankle, elbow or wrist joints, it could indicate a serious problem, especially if the pain lasts more than 48 yours. See your doctor as soon as possible to determine the source of the pain.

  1. 2. Swelling

Thankfully, swelling is a more obvious injury factor. But sometimes you may feel like your joint is swollen when it looks completely normal. When this happens, it’s generally accompanied by pain and stiffness. You may also hear a clicking sound when you bend the joint, which indicates that your tendons have been forced into a new position.

  1. 3. Tenderness to the Touch

You may have a serious injury if it hurts when you apply pressure to a certain joint. A good indicator is if you don’t feel the same pain when pushing on the same spot on the other side of your body.

  1. 4. Limited Movement

Swelling within your joint can cause limited range of motion, another tell-tale sign of an injury. Compare the range of motion on one side of your body to the other. If one side seems compromised, it’s a good idea to see your doctor.

  1. 5. Numbness

Lack of feeling or tingling sensations are two things that shouldn’t be ignored. They typically have to do with nerve compression and may suggest an injury that deserves medical attention.

If you are interested in learning more about ways to detect a sports injury, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.

5 Tips to Effectively Treat Tennis Elbow

April 15th, 2016

Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) is a sharp pain on the outside of the elbow over the bone caused by daily repetitive overuse. This is typically brought on by working on a computer for several hours a day, or playing sports like golf and, yes, tennis. If you suffer from tennis elbow, check out these tips to treat your pain:

-          Stretch. You develop tennis elbow when your forearm muscles tighten and increase the tension on the bony attachments of your tendons. Try stretches that can loosen up your forearms. For example, extend your arm in front of you with your palm up, then bend your wrist and point your hand toward the floor. Using your other hand, bend your wrist gently until you feel it stretch, then hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds, repeating four times.

-          Brace yourself. Wearing a brace can help redistribute the pressure on your elbow and provide pain relief.

-          Get a deep tissue massage. Deep tissue work can help break up scar tissue and improve blood flow, which helps promote healing. Ask your physical therapist if they perform this type of massage.

-          Consider a topical cream. There are several effective topical anti-inflammatory creams available by prescription. And topical creams are better than oral medications, as they don’t have any side effects.

-          Avoid too many cortisone shots. While steroid injections do provide pain relief, the results do not last. And having repeated injections can directly damage your tendons.

The good news is that tennis elbow is not a life-long condition. Most cases of tennis elbow resolve themselves within a couple of years. In the meantime, these useful tips can help speed your recovery and get you back to living a life free of elbow pain.

If you are interested in learning more about ways to effectively manage pain associated with tennis elbow, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.

Build Healthy Bones and Joints the Right Way

March 15th, 2016

Keeping your bones and joints healthy requires a bit of effort, but the rewards make the work extremely worthwhile. Follow these simple guidelines to start you on the road to good health from the inside out for years to come.

Being stationary for a long period of time – when you watch TV or sit at a computer, for example – can raise your risk for painful and stiff joints. Take time each day to get active, whether you jog, dance or run. Even low-impact activities provide great benefits to your bones and joints.

Get Strong
Your joints are supported by strong muscles, so if you lack muscle mass, your joints can become compromised. Build stronger muscles in your upper body by lifting weights or using a weight machine. And try to take the stairs over the elevator when possible to build strength in your lower body. Strong bones mean a lower risk of falls and broken bones.

Pay Attention to Posture
Healthy bones and joints are helped significantly when you practice good posture. When you slouch, you’re  not doing your joints any favors, so be mindful of sitting up straight to strengthen your neck and spine, as well as lessen the wear and tear on your joints that can lead to arthritis.

Eat Right and Lose Weight
Keeping your weight within a healthy range means that your weight-bearing joints don’t have to work as hard to support your body weight. Even losing 10 pounds can make a big difference to your joints. Just one pound of weight lost can ease stress on your joints by four times.

Don’t Overdo It
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for healthier bones and joints, from Yoga to Pilates and everything in between. But if you have frail bones or osteoporosis, some exercises may not be suitable for you. Pay attention to your body when exercising and modify your activity accordingly if you experience pain or if something doesn’t feel quite right.

If you are interested in learning more about how to achieve healthy bones and joints, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.


Three Reasons NOT to Skip the Warm-Up

February 15th, 2016

For many, the warm-up takes a back seat to the actual workout, either because of time constraints or the notion that the workout is the most important part anyway. But warming up is essential to a safe and effective workout because it serves to prevent injuries and improve performance. What’s more, it prepares you mentally for the more strenuous activity that lies ahead. In short, warming up is important for the following reasons:

  1. Reduces the Risk of Injury
    Warming up is essential is because it helps increase your body temperature and the blood flow to your muscles, making it easier for your body to deliver the nutrients you need to produce energy while helping to make your muscles loose and pliable. Warming up also increases blood flow to the heart, preparing your cardio vascular system for the impending workload. It also promotes sweat, which is good for the body. When you sweat, you’re reducing the level of heat stored in the body.
  2. Improves Performance
    Proper conditioning is an important element in overall sports performance. When you warm up, you’re increasing blood flow which in turn increases muscle temperature, a true benefit because it releases oxygen to working muscles, helping you perform better. Elevated muscle temperature also helps your muscles contract and relax faster, helping your muscles work more proficiently.
  3. Prepares You Mentally
    Getting your head in the game is just as significant as preparing your body for upcoming activity. When you prepare yourself mentally for a workout or game, you’re helping to improve your technique and coordination. Try to keep your thoughts in the “now” rather than visualizing what may happen in the future. When you stay focused on what’s going on around you, rather than “time traveling” in your head, you become less nervous and more capable of keeping calm and confident. This ultimately ensures you’re in the best position to stay mindful of how your body is performing, which can help prevent injury in the long run.

If you are interested in learning more about ways to warm up safely to avoid injury, contact Dr. Desio today.  Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas.  Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363.



5 Safety Tips to Help Prevent Falls in Older Adults

January 15th, 2016

As we age, physical changes, health conditions, and sometimes even medications make falls more likely. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in every three adults age 65 or older falls each year, and 2 million are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. To prevent falls in older adults, consider these simple tips:

  • Wear the Right Shoes

Slipping and falling is often caused by loose-fitting slippers, high heels and shoes with slick soles. Walking in stocking feet is also dangerous. Choose properly fitting shoes with nonskid soles to help prevent falls from happening.

  • Exercise

This may sound counterintuitive since certain physical activities may make falls more likely, but gentle exercise like walking or water aerobics can actually help reduce the risk of falls by improving flexibility, coordination, balance and strength.

  • Make Your Home Fall-Proof

There are a number of ways to eliminate safety hazards in the home:
- Install handrails and increase lighting on all staircases
- Remove throw rugs that are not secure to the floor, or tape them down to prevent them from slipping
- Use non-slip mats in the shower or tub, as well as on bathroom floors
- Clear walkways of any items that you could trip over
- Keep items you use regularly within easy reach

  • Get Help From Assistive Devices

Many items are available or can be installed to keep you steady. A walker or a cane is a good way to maintain balance. Other ways to help prevent falls include adding a nonslip tread to wood or vinyl steps, installing armrests and a raised seat to your toilet, and adding grab bars to the shower or tub.

  • Consider the Effects of Medications

Certain medications or combinations of medications can cause dizziness or drowsiness, which can lead to an increased risk of falls. Talk to your doctor about the side effects of the medicines you are taking.

If you are interested learning more about ways to avoid falls that can lead to serious injury, contact Dr. Desio today. Our offices are located in Worcester, Massachusetts, and we proudly serve all surrounding areas. Schedule your appointment today at 508.363.6363. We hope to hear from you soon.