Orthopedic Surgery | Sports Medicine | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Services | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Surgeons Westwood | Dr. Michael L. Gross MD | Dr. James C. Natalicchio MD | Dr. Steven Weinfeld MD | Hackensack Specialties Physical Therapy | Sports Rehabilitation | Westwood | Hackensack Patient Information Orthopedic Care | Westwood | Hackensack Orthopedic Services | Westwood | Hackensack The Active Center for Health & Wellness Active Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine - Westwood Office: 390 Old Hook Rd. | Westwood, NJ 07675 | Tel: 201.358.0707

Tennis Injuries: What Every Player Should Know

March 19th, 2015

Sore wrists, elbows, shoulders, back and legs come with the territory for tennis players. So do scrapes and scars for aggressive athletes unafraid to give up their bodies to save serves and score points. Fortunately, the majority of tennis injuries can be avoided, and almost all can be treated effectively. Here is what to keep in mind to stay in the game.

How Most Tennis Players Get injured

The United States Tennis Association identifies the following as the most common types and causes of injuries among tennis players:

  • Muscle tears and ligament sprains due to overuse
  • Tendinitis (painful swelling) in the elbows and knees
  • Sprained and broken ankles from trips
  • Bruises, scrapes, cuts and fractures from falls and dives

Adult tennis players also face higher risks than non-players for hip, stomach muscle and wrist injuries.

Tips To Prevent Injury On The Tennis Court

Following three basic strategies can help prevent injuries while playing tennis.

  1. Strengthen the muscles in the hands, arms, upper back, core and legs. Do not neglect the development of any major or minor muscle groups.
  2. Progress slowly through the different strokes, tactics and surfaces. Do not overtax muscles and joints with long workouts and games, and concentrate on learning how to play a good grass, hardcourt or clay game before trying to master surface-specific techniques.
  3. Take time to complete a comprehensive, dynamic warm-up before playing a match. The stretching and exercise routine starts with swinging the arms in circles while not holding anything, proceeds through lunges and trunk twists, and concludes with hugging the body around the shoulders.

Know How To Treat Tennis Injuries

Most tennis injuries resolve with first aid and rest. Applying antibiotic cream to a skinned knee, wrapping a heat pad around a sore lower back and staying off the courts for a few days is usually enough.

The time to seek medical care comes when an injury is serious or when pain, decreased strength or limited range of motion lasts long after the game or practice. Diagnosing a tennis-related injury often requires extensive physical testing and medical imaging. Consulting with an experienced orthopedic surgeon can help to find an answer on what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix it.

Have You Suffered A Tennis Injury? Contact Dr. Michael Gross

If you have experienced a sports injury and need to be evaluated by an orthopedist, contact us today to schedule your appointment. You can reach our Emerson office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to hearing from you.

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ACL Injuries | Triggers and Treatments

February 27th, 2015

There are few sports injuries more debilitating than an ACL tear. And, with thousands of cases in the US each year, it’s also one of the most common sports-related conditions.  So, what exactly is the ACL?  The anterior cruciate ligament or “ACL” is one of the most important ligaments in the knee.  It’s responsible for stabilizing and minimizing stress on the joint. Varying in severity from a slightly stretched ligament to a complete tear, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons explains that, “Athletes who participate in high demand sports like soccer, football, and basketball are more likely to injure their anterior cruciate ligaments.” In essence, anyone whose sport is heavy on pivoting, cutting or sidestepping is at a higher risk for an ACL injury.

Of course, preventing an injury is always better than treating an injury.  And, while there is no surefire way to prevent an ACL tear, there are ways to reduce your risk.  Although there is no substitute for consulting with your physician or using good judgment, here are a few ACL injury prevention programs, borrowed from a report by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM):

  • Balance Training: This type of training uses exercise balls, wobble boards, and other devices to promote balance and improve kinesthetic awareness.
  • Plyometrics: Often referred to as explosive exercises, the AOSSM explains that “High-intensity plyometrics may be key in reducing the number of ACL injuries.”
  • Strength Training: Strength training exercises — especially involving jumping and landing – can improve stability and help ward off an ACL injury.

ACL Reconstruction

Of course, despite our best efforts, an ACL tear is sometimes inevitable.  When this happens, patients will often require an ACL reconstruction procedure.  Here’s a brief introduction.

ACL reconstruction is usually performed several weeks after the injury, once swelling and inflammation have been reduced. Since reattaching the torn ligament is not enough to repair the ACL, most patients require a tissue graft – either from the patient’s own body or using donor tissue.  In many cases, the entire procedure can be performed arthroscopically, whereby a camera and tiny surgical instruments are passed though small incisions in the knee.  This offers patients less scarring, shorter recovery times and an overall less invasive procedure.

Physical therapy begins soon after surgery and may continue for several months.   Assuming an active role in your own recovery, patients must commit to a long-term rehabilitation program. This is the best way to ensure effective pain relief and restored knee function.

ACL Surgery in Westwood and Hackensack

If you think you are suffering from an ACL or other sports-related  injury, contact us today and schedule a consultation.  You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

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Most Common Ice Hockey Injuries

February 27th, 2015

Ice hockey is notorious for being a rough sport that is physically demanding. It doesn’t matter if you’re on the New Jersey Devils, in a recreational league, or simply playing for fun, hockey players often sustain many serious injuries. Here’s a look at the most common injuries ice hockey players face.


  • A concussion can occur without the loss of consciousness.
  • After forceful contact with another player or the ice or rink where the head is involved, players may report “not feeling right,” or “feeling funny.” If this is associated with a headache, the player likely has a concussion.
  • If it is suspected that a player has sustained a concussion, they must be evaluated immediately and should not continue to play. Concussions cause brain swelling.

Back Injuries

  • While skating, players’ posture is often angled forward, which places strain on the lower back.
  • Proper strengthening and stretching of the hip and back muscles can avoid lower back pain or pulled muscles.

Shoulder Injuries

  • Most commonly, hockey players experience dislocated shoulders or broken collarbones.
  • In minor cases, rest, ice, and immobilization (use of a sling) can help the shoulder heal.
  • For serious shoulder injuries, arthroscopic surgery may be required to repair a torn rotator cuff.

Elbow Injuries

  • Bursitis, a condition that develops in the elbow as a result of overuse, is commonly seem in hockey players.
  • Wearing well-fitting elbow pads can help protect the joint and reduce the risk of recurring inflammation.

Wrist Injuries

  • A player that suffers a fall or jolt into the rink guards that pushes the wrist out of its normal range of motion could result in fracture.
  • Broken wrists often require hard casts in order to heal.
  • Hockey players should use their forearms to brace themselves, rather than their hands.

Hip Injuries

  • Ice skating is the main reason hockey players suffer hip injuries.
  • Most common hip injuries include groin strain, hip flexor strain, trochanteric bursitis, and hip pointer.

Knee Injuries

  • Knee injuries are common in almost all athletes, hockey players are most susceptible to to medical collateral ligament (MCL) tears because of the leg position when pushing off from or stopping while skating.
  • Hockey players often suffer anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, and meniscus (knee cap) disruption.

Have You Suffered a Hockey-related Sports Injury? Contact Dr. Michael Gross Today to get Back in the Game

If you suffered a sports injury and need to be evaluated by an orthopedist, contact us today to schedule your appointment. You can reach our Emerson office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to hearing from you.

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What is Hip Arthroscopy?

February 27th, 2015

While hip surgery is often associated with older patients, younger patients may also need hip surgery. One surgery commonly performed on younger patients is minimally-invasive Hip arthroscopy.

Hip arthroscopy repairs damage to the hip joint that is unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments.  This surgery uses a small camera (an arthroscope) so the doctor can see what needs to be done. Let’s take a look at the most common questions about Hip arthroscopy.

  1. When is hip arthroscopy necessary? If a patient is experiencing pain or inflammation from a hip injury or trauma that cannot be relieved with nonsurgical methods, such as medication, physical therapy or rest, surgery may be necessary.  Hip arthroscopy can relieve symptoms that are associated with hip joint infections, inflamed joint tissues, and loose joints.
  2. Who is a good candidate for this surgery? Generally, patients who undergo this procedure are younger adults in relatively good health. Prior to the surgery, your doctor will need to assess your overall health, in order to identify any problems, such as health conditions or medications, that may hinder the progress of the surgery. If a patient is generally healthy, the hip arthroscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure, and may require an overnight stay in the hospital.
  3. What will happen during the surgery? First, the patient’s leg is put into traction, which means the hip will be pulled away from the socket enough so the surgeon can see the entire joint. Once traction is applied, the surgeon will make a small puncture in the hip for the arthroscope was be inserted. Through the small camera, the doctor can identify the area targeted for surgery. During surgery, the doctor repairs torn cartilage, and remove any inflamed tissue around the hip joint. The surgery will usually take a few hours.
  4. Is there a long recovery period? Most patients only need to stay in the hospital for a few hours following the procedure, before returning home. Physical therapy may be required, though most patients make a complete recovery in a few months. Complications associated with the surgery are rare, though patients may need to make permanent lifestyle changes to avoid future injuries.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about hip surgery, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to serving you!

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How are Bunions Treated?

February 27th, 2015

Bunions are abnormal, painful bumps which form at the base of the big toe, where the toe attaches to the foot. Since bunions occur at a joint, the toe bends in when you walk. This means your entire body weight will rest upon that bunion every time you take a step!

While bunions occur for a number of reasons, they are  most commonly caused by wearing shoes that do not fit properly. Common symptoms of a bunion are thickened skin on the feet,  corns or calluses, or swelling on your feet.

Treatment for bunions will depend on how serious the condition is. Here are some common treatments (and preventative measures) for bunions:

  1. Change your shoes. Since wearing shoes that are too tight are usually the cause for bunions, wearing comfortable shoes is a preventative measure for bunions.  However, wearing more comfortable shoes can help ease any pain caused by a bunion. Early treatment for bunions, which includes wearing comfortable shoes, is considered highly-effective.
  2. Medications. For most patients, simply using an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as Tylenol, Advil, or Aleve, will help ease the pain cause by bunions. Additionally, getting injections of Cortisone may help ease symptoms.
  3. Use  shoe inserts. Wearing padded shoe inserts can keep your bunion from becoming worse. The insert can also help ease the stress and pain put on your feet, and distribute your body weight more evenly.  Shoe inserts are available in many drug and grocery stores, though some other inserts may require a prescription.
  4. Surgery. When nonsurgical treatments are just not enough, surgery may be necessary. There are a number of surgical procedures used for bunions, although there is no one surgery that is best for every case. Most surgeries for bunions will include a “bunionectomy,” which involves removing swollen tissue from around the big toe. The procedure also helps straighten the big toe. However, surgery should only be used if your bunion pain interferes with your daily movements and activities.

Bunion Treatments in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about bunions or how to treat them, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 or our Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277. We look forward to serving you!

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Staying Safe in the Winter Months

February 27th, 2015

While the winter can be a great time to travel, go skiing, see family and more, there are a number of orthopedic concerns specific to these cold, snowy months. Skiing, snowboarding and even clearing snow can cause significant bone and joint damage if the proper precautions aren’t taken, so learn about some of the ways you can keep yourself free from injury this winter.

Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries

Perhaps the most common injuries seen in the winter months are those that occur while out on the slopes. Skiers are vulnerable to a number of different injuries, like shoulder dislocations and fractures, ACL injuries, lower extremity fractures, head injuries and more. While many skiing injuries are minor, some more serious injuries may require surgical intervention.

There are a number of ways you can keep yourself safe on the slopes this winter. If you’re going skiing or snowboarding, make sure that you’re in good physical condition and don’t rush to the more challenging trails. It’s important to know your limits, so don’t continue skiing if you’re feeling tired or worn out at the end of the day. Make sure to understand and abide by the posted safety rules, and be sure you’re wearing the appropriate equipment and safety gear. It’s also important to watch out for rocks or patches of ice on the ski trails, and only stay on marked trails.

Snow Clearing Injuries

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 119,000 people were treated for injuries sustained while using manual snow removal tools in 2013 alone, with many more being injured due to snow blowers or throwers. As snow clearing often occurs in very cold weather, many tend to rush through the process and forget to follow some basic safety precautions, leaving themselves vulnerable to injury.

To help you stay safe while shoveling snow, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have outlined some effective tips. When shoveling, make sure to push snow rather than lift it and avoid throwing snow off to the side. It’s also better to clear snow early and often, as this helps you avoid the strain of dealing with packed and heavy snow. Make sure to pace yourself, and dress warmly so you don’t feel rushed to finish. If you’re planning on using a snow blower, always follow the exact instructions given, and make sure to never put your hands or feet inside this device. Don’t leave the snow blower unattended, and be careful not to trip over any power cords.

For More Winter Safety Tips, Contact Active Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Today

For more information, contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Emerson, Hackensack or Montclair to schedule an appointment today. We can be reached at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO for 24-hour emergency care.

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3 Reasons Your Knee Hurts

February 27th, 2015

Knee pain can have a major impact on your life and well-being if you allow the issue to go without treatment. While some knee problems can be remedied rather quickly, others require more extensive forms of treatment such as surgery or physical therapy. By educating yourself on the three most common reasons why your knee may hurt, you’ll better understand the different complications that can occur and why prompt treatment is essential.

Active Lifestyles

Those who spend more time on their feet are more likely to experience knee pain. While staying active is necessary for optimal health, certain exercises, sports, and activities put high levels of strain on areas within the knee. When active people experience knee pain, it’s generally a result of tendinitis or strains and can occur out of nowhere, ranging from mild to severe. Strains and tendinitis can occur due to trauma or excessive wear, and medical guidance from a licensed professional must be sought right away to evaluate the problem and ensure it’s nothing more serious.

Ligament Injuries

The ligaments within your knee are one of the most important parts of the knee. They act somewhat like giant rubber bands, connecting the lower leg bone to the thigh and allowing for flexibility. When the ligament is injured, it often causes a severe and shocking pain.

The type of trauma needed to cause a ligament tear is dependent upon the health of your ligament. While some people require a hard blow to the knee to experience a problem, others may find themselves in trouble after an unnatural twist of the knee. Regardless, medical attention is needed right away to address the pain and come up with a treatment plan.

Cartilage Tears

Both injuries and tears are often seen in the semi-hard but flexible tissue known as the cartilage, which works to cover the ends of bones to prevent them from grinding together during movement. Cartilage issues are rather common, and the majority of injuries that occur in the knee are due to one or more tears in the knee cartilage.

Interested in Learning More About Knee Pain? Contact Our Doctors To Learn More.

For more information, contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Emerson, Hackensack or Montclair to schedule an appointment today. We can be reached at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO for 24-hour emergency care.

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How Baseball Players Can Protect Themselves From Injuries

February 23rd, 2015

When you think of sports injuries, you probably associate them with sports that are more high-contact, like football, hockey, and basketball. However, baseball players suffer injuries too. In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 2010 the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reported that there were more than 414,000 Americans treated in hospitals, emergency rooms, and doctors’ offices for baseball-related injuries. Of that number, more than 282,000 of these patients were under the age of 18. These can range from tears and strains to impact injuries, broken bones, and more. So, as a baseball player, what can you do to protect yourself from injury?

Prepare For Play

Far too many players and coaches take little or no time to actually prepare before playing. This does not necessarily mean engaging in long sessions of pre-game stretching. It is, however, important to warm the body and muscles before jumping right into exercise and, particularly, exercises involving quick and snappy movements like pitching or swinging a bat.

Proper Safety Equipment

Anybody at bat or running the bases should wear an appropriately rated batting helmet. Face shields and cheek guards can be added to these helmets to further improve their protection. Some batters also like to add a protective jacket or vest. A mouth guard would not hurt, either. Catchers, likewise, should wear an appropriate mask, chest protector, shin guards, and catcher’s mitt. All players should use an appropriate glove to avoid hand injuries when catching a baseball.

There Is No Substitute For Proper Training And Good Form

Nothing is more important to preventing injury than using proper form. This includes using a proper swing while at bat, learning proper mechanics for throwing and pitching, and having a correct gait when running. Training can also show players how to avoid injuries through techniques like dodging pitches.

Want More Information On Baseball-Related Injuries? Contact Active Orthopedics And Sports Medicine

If you want to learn more about how to prevent a sports injury, or have an existing injury, it is a good idea to visit an orthopedic surgery clinic. Contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, with offices in Emerson, Hackensack, or Montclair, NJ at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO.

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Treatment Options For Labrum Tears

January 30th, 2015

A labrum tear is a risk for all athletes who play sports with repetitive shoulder movements. Baseball players and tennis players especially tend to overuse the shoulder joint and sustain these tears.

Non-athletes who suffer from a fall or practice heavy lifting can also experience this injury. While it can be painful, a labrum tear is very treatable through rest or orthopedic surgery, depending on the severity.

What is a labrum tear?

The labrum is a cartilage cuff at the end of the humerus that supports the ball and socket joint in the shoulder. It allows for a large range of motion, which is why it is often vulnerable to injury.

There are three types of labrum tears:

  • SLAP Tear: A tear located at the top of the labrum that often results from repetitive overhead activity.
  • Bankart Lesions: Tears resulting from a shoulder dislocation.
  • Posterior Labral Tears: Tears that arise from shoulder impingement syndrome, which is when the rotator cuff and labrum pinch together.

Pain will occur at the location of the tear and is usually described as an aching pain that becomes worse with movement. Patients also report frequent dislocations, catching or popping, clicking, and a feeling that the shoulder is very loose.

How are labrum tears treated?

Rest and physical therapy are the first methods of treatment prescribed by an orthopedic surgery clinic. Patients may wear immobilizing devices and will learn to strengthen their rotator cuff muscles. These conservative treatments are normally effective as long as patients limit activity.

If patients do not recover, an orthopedic surgeon will recommend arthroscopic surgery. Using micro technology, the doctor locates the tear and then repairs it with small metal screws. If the labrum is torn but mostly stable, doctors will often remove the torn flap, which relieves a patient’s pain. Once ligaments are reattached and the shoulder socket tightened, patients report tremendous relief.

It takes the shoulder three to four months to fully heal after surgery and patients attend physical therapy during that time. Athletes often return to their sports six weeks after the procedure.

Want To Learn More About Treating A Labrum Tear? Contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

If you are facing persistent shoulder pain, it is a good idea to visit an orthopedic surgery clinic. Contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, with offices in Emerson, Hackensack, or Montclair, NJ at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO.


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What Are PRP Injections?

January 5th, 2015

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections have been used to heal injuries since the mid-to-late 90’s and are routinely used to repair soft tissue to stimulate the healing process. PRP injections often relieve pain almost immediately, while also promoting long-lasting recovery. The injections are also safe for older patients as well as younger, more athletic individuals. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions surrounding this treatment.

What can PRP injections help relieve?

Knee sprains and instability are some of the most common ailments treated by PRP injections. However there are several other issues that can be treated through PRP  injections, such as hamstring pains, tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries and ankle sprains. PRP injections are an excellent pain reliever for various athletic injuries and a good tool to aid in soft tissue recovery. As PRP injections are a long-term healing process, it is meant to be permanent.

PRP injections are safe and are formulated to work when injected directly into the aggravated tissue.

How many PRP injections do I need?

Depending on the severity of your issue, you may require more than the average amount of PRP injections at the same site. Generally, patients only need three to four injections.

What is the process of getting a PRP injection?

After thorough cleansing and preparation, the injection is prepared by the doctor and injected into the pain site. The entire process only takes about an hour. After the injection, you’ll take a bit of time to recover in our office.

What is the recovery time for PRP injections?

Typically, patients will want to avoid returning to any strenuous activities for about three weeks to better give yourself time to heal. You should also discuss at-home rehab and exercise options with your doctor. This is done in an effort to prevent future injury as well as potential re-injuries as a result of physical activity.

Interested in Learning More About PRP Injections? Contact Our Doctors To Learn More.

For more information, contact Active Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Emerson, Hackensack or Montclair to schedule an appointment today. We can be reached at 1-844-ACTIVE-ORTHO for 24-hour emergency care.

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