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

What is a Meniscal Tear?

April 1st, 2014

Your knees are some of the most complicated joints in the entire body. Knees are often prone to injury, especially among patients who participate in sports on a regular basis. One of the most common knee injuries is known as a meniscal tear.

So, what exactly is a meniscal tear? Let’s learn a bit more about this injury and how they can be treated.

First of all, the meniscus is a disk composed of cartilage that acts as a cushion for your knee. Each of your knees have two of these disks, one for the outer knee and another for the inner knee. A meniscus is crucial for keeping the knees steady.

These types of tears often occur when the knee is forcibly twisted, which is typically a result of playing sports.  Since knee cartilage becomes thinner with time, meniscal tears are also common in older people. The most common symptoms of a meniscal tear include swelling or severe knee pain, which will often decrease on its own. Other symptoms may include knee stiffness, as well as difficulties straightening out your knees.

At first, meniscal tears will be treated with conservative methods, including rest, icing the area, or taking over-the-counter medication for pain relief. However, conservative methods may not work for everyone.

Once conservative measures are no longer enough, surgical relief may be necessary. With arthroscopic knee repair or meniscectomy, the part of the meniscus that is torn will likely need to be removed.   However, there are cases in which a surgeon will be able to suture the edges of the meniscus, which will allow them to heal without being removed by surgery.

Whether or not your particular meniscal injury requires surgery, your doctor will work closely with you to ensure you are receiving the best care possible.

Meniscus Surgery in Westwood and Hackensack

If you believe that you are suffering from a meniscal tear, or simply would like more information about what services our practice offers,  contact us today to schedule your appointment.  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.

Posted in Arthroscopic Surgery, Knee Procedures | No Comments »

How Can an Ankle Sprain Be Treated?

March 4th, 2014

Ankle sprains are extremely common, and typically occur following a sudden, twisting motion of the foot. These injuries sometimes occur during sporting events, though simply taking an awkward step can result in your ankle moving the wrong way!

Ankle sprains cause the stretching or tearing of ligaments located within the ankle joint.  The most common side-effects on sprained ankles include swelling, discoloration, an inability to move the ankle properly, and severe pain within the ankle area. Sprained ankles must be diagnosed by an experienced orthopedist, following a thorough examination and evaluation of symptoms. Some cases may also require x-rays to be taken. Depending on its severity, an ankle sprain can take up to 6 weeks to heal completely.  Let’s take a look at some common treatments for these sprains.

  1. Supportive braces. Wearing protective braces or compression garments, especially those with a built-in air cushion, will provide great support and comfort to an injured ankle.
  2. Rest. Many patients feel that walking with a sprained ankle is simply too painful, so walking with crutches may be helpful when you absolutely must walk.  It is quite important to rest your ankle periodically.
  3. Ice. Following an ankle injury, a patient often experiences a great deal of swelling and discomfort. Placing ice packs on the ankle can help decrease swelling, especially in the first few days after the injury.
  4. Anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as Advil or Motrin. These drugs work to decrease a patient’s pain, as well as any inflammation that has occurred.
  5. Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation following a sprained ankle will usually include exercises to restore strength and stability to the ankle. Your doctor and physical therapist will work with you to establish an effective treatment plan that will make your sprained ankle as good as new.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about how to treat ankle sprains, 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!


Posted in Bone Health, Injury Prevention, Knee Procedures | No Comments »

Tips for Exercise During the Winter Months

February 3rd, 2014

Exercising during the winter months is not always easy. Colder temperatures, along with environmental factors such as ice and snow, can easily wreak havoc on an exercise routine. However, being active even during the rough winter months is extremely beneficial. Nevertheless, extreme caution should always be taken when you work out in cold temperatures.

Let’s take a look at some tips that will keep you healthy (and safe) during your winter workout.

Top Ways to Exercise Safely During the Winter:

  1. Warm-up Inside. Before you head out into the cold to exercise, do some warmup exercises indoors. Not warming up prior to exercising means that your body will be ill-prepared for what you are about to do, which can often result in sports injuries. So, remember to warm-up so your body is conditioned for your workout!
  2. Dress Properly. During the winter, it is important to wear layers. However, you do not want to wear clothing that will leave you feeling overheated. Instead, wear a snug, yet breathable, shirt as a base layer. This shirt should be made out of a synthetic fabric, which will help absorb any moisture.  As a middle layer, wear a fleece or wool top that will provide insulation to your body. The thickness of this middle layer will depend on how intense your exercise routine is. Finally, for an outer layer, wear a jacket that resists wind, but is still breathable. A jacket made of nylon is a good option, and don’t forget to wear your hat and gloves!
  3. Keep your body hydrated. Most people believe that dehydration is only something to worry about during the summer months. However, dehydration can also be a major problem during the winter months, especially when people exercise while wearing heavy layers. Becoming dehydrated puts you at an increased risk for fatigue, which may eventually result in an injury. Maintaining a healthy diet is also necessary during the winter months.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about how to prevent exercise-related injuries during the winter, 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!

Posted in Sports Medicine | No Comments »

Top Questions about Hip Replacement Surgery

January 2nd, 2014

Each year, millions of adults seek hip replacement surgery to relieve pain and damage within the hip area caused by arthritis, injury, or fracture. Hip replacement surgery is often considered when nonsurgical treatments, such as medications or lifestyle changes, are not effective.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the top questions about this procedure.

  1. What exactly is hip replacement surgery? Hip replacement is a surgical procedure, which removes a painful or damaged hip joint. The hip joint is then replaced with an artificial prosthetic, effectively relieving symptoms and restoring movement to the joint.
  2. What will hip replacement surgery involve? During the procedure, a patient will first receive anesthesia, which will minimize discomfort. Damaged cartilage and bone will be removed from the joint. The artificial replacement is then placed into the joint, restoring movement there.  The hip joint consists of a ball and socket, which are both replaced and and cemented into the joint. An artificial replacement is usually made of metal, plastic, or even ceramic.
  3. What conditions does hip replacement surgery treat? Hip replacement surgery can help adults suffering from various degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
  4. Who is a good candidate for the procedure? There are no strict age or weight restrictions for hip replacement surgery. However, hip replacement surgery remains far more common among adults between the ages of 50 to 80. Patients who are usually in need of this surgery are experiencing hip pain or stiffness that interferes with their daily activities and movements.
  5. Is hip replacement right for me? If you are considering having hip replacement surgery, the best way to determine if the procedure is right for you is to speak with your doctor. Your doctor will be able to determine your candidacy by evaluating your medical history, your specific needs, and if the surgery will benefit you.

Hip Replacement Surgery in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any interest in or questions about hip replacement 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!


Posted in Arthroscopic Surgery, Bone Health | No Comments »

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome | Top Patient Questions

November 25th, 2013

While it’s an increasingly common condition, not many are familiar with what exactly carpal tunnel syndrome entails.  Caused by pressure on the wrist’s median nerve, this condition most commonly affects people whose wrists and hands are subject to constant, repetitive motions – like carpenters, assembly line workers, and more. The median nerve runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand and controls sensations and movement in the thumb and first three fingers, the area most affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.  If you’re ready to learn more about this condition, keep reading to find out answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Top Patient Questions about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  1. What are the symptoms? Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically include pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand or wrist, generally in the area where the median nerve runs.  Patients also report increases in pain at night and with increased use of the hand, in addition to weakness in the affected area.
  2. What causes it? While carpal tunnel syndrome is usually brought about by constant and repetitive motions of the wrist and hand, there are other factors that contribute to their onset.  Some common causes include smoking, certain illnesses, pregnancy, and obesity.
  3. How is this condition diagnosed? If you’re experiencing any symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, a physical exam can help your doctor identify it.  After learning more about your medical history, blood or nerve testing may be done to help reach a diagnosis.
  4. What are the treatment options? Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome typically depends on the severity of the case.  If symptoms are mild, it can usually be treated with home remedies, like ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and the use of a wrist splint.  More serious cases may require surgery, so make sure to tell your doctor if your symptoms are becoming more severe.
  5. Is it preventable? For those worried about their risk, there are some steps that can be taken to lower your risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome.  Exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking can all help to reduce your risk, and frequent breaks from wrist-heavy activity may prove effective.  It can also be helpful to try and keep your wrists in a neutral position, and switch hands whenever possible.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood, Hackensack and Montclair

For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome, contact us today and schedule a consultation.  You can reach our Westwood office at (201) 358-0707 ,  Hackensack office at (201) 343-2277  and Montlcair at (973)680-7831.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Injury Prevention | No Comments »

Top Tips for Bone Health

October 31st, 2013

Our bones protect our vital organs, and are essential to our daily lives. While it is important to build strong and healthy bones during childhood, it is also important for adults to protect their bones, since bone strength decreases with age.

So, how can you care for your bones? Here are some top tips to help with lifelong bone health:

  1. Stay active. Not only is exercise essential to a healthy lifestyle, but people who are physically active throughout their life have a much better chance for greater bone health. You don’t have to take up high-impact exercises to have healthy bones; activities such as jogging, tennis, or golf, are great activities to help keep you body (and by extension, your bones) healthy.
  2. Maintain a diet rich in calcium. Calcium is a mineral which helps keep bones strong. If we do not have a sufficient amount of calcium in our diets, our bones can grow weaker leading to the bone disease osteoporosis, in which the bones become extremely fragile and thin.  Osteoporosis can lead to bone fracture, joint damage,  and more.  Calcium can be obtained through foods  like cheese, tofu, and kale, or through vitamin D supplements.
  3. Avoid smoking . Smoking decreases bone mass, especially in older adults.  Smoking also damages your blood vessels, as well as nerves in the feet. This can increase your risk for falls or bone fracture.
  4. Avoid excessive alcohol.  Like smoking, drinking alcohol in excess is unhealthy, not only for your body but for your bones! Drinking more than two alcoholic beverages each day interferes with the absorption of calcium in your body, which increases your risk for osteoporosis. If you do drink, remember: “Everything in moderation.”
  5. Take medications. There is currently no cure for osteoporosis, though there are several effective medications currently on the market which can help treat and prevent the condition.  Like with any medication, there are certain risks with osteoporosis medications. Speak to your doctor before taking any new medication to see what will be best for you.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about bone health or how to treat it, 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!

Posted in Bone Health, Injury Prevention | No Comments »

Exercising in the Summer Heat

August 21st, 2013

Many people enjoy working out during the summer months, whether they are running, swimming, cycling, or participating in other outdoor events. The sun is out, it isn’t too cold, and all of the sweating is a good sign, right? However, the harsh summer heat can have damaging effects on your bodily health if you aren’t properly prepared.

No matter what activity you are participating in, you should always exercise extreme care in high temperatures and high humidity. You should always be aware of your body’s limitations, and never push yourself past your boundaries. Let’s take a look at some of the other methods you can use to stay safe while exercising in the heat.

Top 5 Ways to Exercise Safely in the Summer

  1. Time of day. The best time of day to work out is the early morning, as the temperature will typically be hottest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The only time you should exercise in the heat of midday is if you are training for an event that takes place during that time.
  2. The right clothes. Light colored clothing will reflect light, and cotton clothing will help in the evaporation of sweat. Buying special running clothing is also a great idea, as they are usually made to help keep you cool.
  3. Check the weather. If the forecast includes a heat advisory, that means there are high levels of ozone and air pollution, which can cause damage to your lungs. On these days, it is better to work out indoors to avoid this issue.
  4. Use sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, you should be applying sunscreen. The UV rays can cause a wide variety of sun damage and burns on your skin, leading to other health issues as well.
  5. Stay hydrated. Drink one to two glasses of water before you leave to exercise, and continue drinking every 15 minutes while working out — even if you aren’t thirsty. At the end of the exercise session, drink a few more cups of water.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions about how to properly exercise or how to treat injuries caused by exercise, 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!

Posted in Injury Prevention | No Comments »

Top Knee Injuries for Athletes

July 17th, 2013

Did you know that the knee is the most commonly treated area for sport injuries? The knee is a complex area susceptible to many different kinds of damage, as most of us have seen in our daily lives and professional sports alike. Let’s take a look at some of the most common knee injuries seen in athletes.

Top 5 Common Knee Injuries

  1. ACL Injury. Tears in the ACL can be caused by a rapid change in direction, landing from a jump, or slowing down after running. Athletes most susceptible to an ACL injury include basketball players, skiers, and any athletes who wear cleats for their sports.
  2. Runner’s Knee. This is a more general term, also known as chondromalacia patellae, to describe a common knee injury among active runners. It causes knee pain that is exacerbated when the joint is bent, and which may be caused by repetitive stress on the knee.
  3. MCL Injury. Damage to the MCL typically occurs with a hard hit to the outside of the knee. Athletes who have a high risk of an MCL injury are those who play contact sports like football and soccer.
  4. PCL Injury. Injuries to the PCL occur with a direct hit to the front of the knee. They may also occur after an athlete makes a simple misstep while playing.
  5. Torn Cartilage. Typically, torn cartilage refers to a torn meniscus, which is the cartilage attached to the knees ligaments that absorbs shock to the joint. Direct contact is often involved in tearing the meniscus, like getting tackled on the field. Other causes may include cutting, decelerating, pivoting, or twisting.

Treatment for these injuries varies depending on what was damaged, to what extent the damage goes, and many other factors. Individual treatment plans may include simple R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), physical therapy, surgery, or more. If you feel any pain, notice any swelling, begin limping, or experience any injuries at the joint, be sure to contact a board certified professional right away.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

If you have any questions regarding knee injuries or treatment, 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 hearing from you!

Posted in Knee Procedures | No Comments »

Top 5 Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them

May 6th, 2013

While running is a popular sporting activity that presents a number of important health benefits, it’s not without its risks. Many runners experience an injury at some point or another,  due to overuse, improper technique, or another similar factor. So what are some of the most common running injuries?

Top 5 Running Injuries:

  1. Runner’s knee. Chondromalacia patellae, known colloquially as runner’s knee, is a general term describing any damage or irritation to the cartilage under your kneecap. While the exact cause is currently unknown, it’s thought to be related to repetitive stress on the knee joint, or any trauma to the kneecaps. It’s typically associated with a dull pain in the knee, that can be aggravated when your leg is bent.
  2. Achilles tendinitis. A common overuse injury, Achilles tendinitis is essentially an inflammation of the Achilles tendon – what connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. It can cause pain in the back of your leg, and is commonly brought on by a sudden increase in the intensity of your physical activities.
  3. Plantar fasciitis. Affecting over 2 million patients each year, plantar fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain. It occurs when there is too much pressure placed on the heel, damaging the plantar fascia – the ligament that connects the front of your foot to your heel.
  4. Shin splints. A term used to describe medial tibial stress syndrome, shin splints can cause runners to feel pain on the inner side of the shin, both during rest and exercise. It’s caused by excessive stress to the shins, and results in small tears in the muscles around the shin bone.
  5. Stress fractures. Defined as tiny cracks in a bone, stress fractures occur due to repetitive force and are commonly seen in long-distance runners. Symptoms generally include swelling, pain, and tenderness in any affected areas.

Tips for Preventing Running Injuries

For runners who want to reduce their risk for injury, here a few easy tips you can follow.

  1. Wear the right shoes. The right pair of running shoes can play a huge part in injury prevention. Make sure to select a pair with the contour of your feet in mind – and buy for comfort, not just looks.
  2. Listen to your body. Many of the most common running injuries are caused by overuse. Don’t push through the pain – if your body is telling you to stop, continuing on will typically only worsen your condition.
  3. Stretch. Warming up and stretching before a run is a crucial component in preventing injury, as it can loosen up the muscles that are most susceptible to damage.

Orthopedic Surgeon in Westwood and Hackensack

To learn more about common running injuries as well as their prevention and treatment, contact us today to schedule your 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.

Posted in Injury Prevention, Sports Medicine | No Comments »

Dr. Gross’ Procedures

April 22nd, 2013

Posted in In the media | No Comments »

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