Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Macau Asian Indoor Games

Malaysia will send a contingent of 95 men and 29 women to participate in the
2nd Asian Indoor Games slated for Oct. 26 to Nov. 3 this year in Macau, China, a local official said here on Monday.

The Malaysians were expected to take part in nine of the 17 sports for contest, said Sieh Kok Chi, secretary of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM).

Malaysian athletes would not participate in aerobic gymnastics, snooker billiards, muay (Thai boxing), E-sport, fin swimming, indoor athletics, indoor hockey* and short course swimming.

Source: Xinhua

*Sapura Team will be representing Malaysia in Indoor Hockey.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Peroneal Tendon Subluxation

Nadia (not her real name) was sub-elite gymnast when she came with sudden pain and snapping sensation in her right ankle after twisting her ankle during training 3 years ago. She was seen by another physician who diagnosed her condition and was treated conservatively with bracing for 1 month's duration followed by rehabilitation exercises for 8 weeks.

She had the snapping sensation when she stands on her toes ("On toes") and pointing her toes. I asked her to dorsiflex her ankle and evert the foot and her peroneal tendon would slip in front of the bony prominence (see photo). She only had mild pain everting her foot against resistance. As expected, there was a tendency for the opposite peroneal tendon to slip forward too due to increased laxity. Ultrasonography may be useful if we suspect a tendon tear.*

According to Ferran et al, the diagnosis and management plan are based on clinical evidence. Conservative management may be attempted in acute dislocations, and can be successful in up to 50% of patients, although there is a trend for operative management in athletes. Recurrent dislocations should be managed surgically.**

*J Ultrasound Med.2007; 26: 243-246
**Sports Med. 2006;36(10):839-46.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Ankle sprain without much swelling?

Nicole (not her real name), a part-time fitness instructor came to see me yesterday with a painful right ankle joint. She told me that she twisted the ankle 3 weeks earlier but did not do much for it as she did not have much swelling. She explained that despite a nagging pain she continued to do some classes after a week's rest. She soon realised that the pain was getting more unbearable that she decided to see a doctor.

I examined and found out that she had a tenderness of the antero-lateral aspect of the right ankle, a partially torn ligament (ATFL) and poor sense of balance on the right lower limb. He peroneal tendons and the medial malleolus seemed to be problem free. True enough both ankles seemed more flexible than usual.

She was advised to avoid doing running or jumping without taping. I taught her how to tape her ankle if she had to take classes. I ran through with her the isometric exercises, theraband resistance exercises and balancing exercises she should do. Since she had a grade II sprain, I advised her to do at least 8-12 weeks rehabilitation although she would feel much better within 2 weeks.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Hamstring Strain

Raju (not his real name) is an ex-International hockey player who suddenly suffered from a sharp pain in the back of his right thigh while sprinting towards the 'D'. He thought that it was just a muscle cramp and wanted to play. I ran on the pitch and took him off. He tried to stretch himself but he could not due to the pain. He refused to be strapped and wanted to go into play again but he could hardly straighten his leg.

I quickly iced his hamstring and wrapped it with crepe bandage. After 10 minutes, I reviewed the injury and found that he could hardly lift leg against gravity. Upon palpation, I found out that he had a deep tenderness along the sides of the semimembranosus tendon (musculotendinous junction).

He was advised to obtain an Ultrasound scan to determine the extent of damage (partial tear). He was advised to continue RICE treatment and asked to continue treatment of his Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. We also advised him to warm-up, stretch and drink-up (rehydrate with sports drinks or water) adequately.

It should take him at least 6 - 8 weeks to recover adequately with rehabilitation exercises. However, he would be reviewed every 2 weekly do assess his progress. He would also require a fitness test before return to sport.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Flexor Hallucis Longus (FHL) Partial Rupture

Samson (not his real name) is a club soccer player who felt a sharp pain his right ankle injury during competition last Saturday. He felt pain in the inner aspect of the right ankle and could not 'push-off' to run or sprint after that. He used RICE treatment immediately after injury. The next morning he noticed a bluish discolouration of his hindfoot (see photo) due to dependent hematoma.

He saw me 2 days later and I had him dorsiflex his ankle and curl his toes downward against resistance (to strecth his FHL tendon). He grimaced in pain. He also had pain doing heel-lifts. I suspected a mild strain of his Tibialis Posterior tendon too.

He was seen by an experienced physiotherapist who told him he would be 'out-of-action' for at least a month. I told him that could be accurate but encouraged him to do some isometric exercises (without pain) and keep his fitness level by doing some aqua-jogging. He was prescribed some theraband resistance exercises and told to follow-up with his physiotherapist for electrotherapy.

For most practical purposes, he would need an ultrasound to evaluate the extent of the FHL partial rupture. Tendon partial ruptures may often require at least 12 weeks rehabilitation exercise followed by progressive return to play.


I have found a useful new product for First-Aid kits called BLOODCARE spray recently. It is an aerosol type of a local haemostatic preparation formed hydrogencalcium salt of oxidised cellulose and pressurised propellant. I have used it several times on skin abrasions and found it useful in stopping bleeding during matchplay.

According to the product description, the content of carboxyl groups (16-24%) and calcium ions present in active powder substance supports the biological healing process, and has the proven features of being bactericidal and bacteriostatic.

To apply the spray, ensure that the superficial wound is cleaned with a running water or disinfectant, apply pressure to dry the wound, shake the can well, hold the can upright and spray from a distance of 10-15cm for 2-3 seconds. The layer formed saturated with blood does not need to be removed. If necessary apply bandage or plaster.

Find out more about Bloodcare spray here.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Navicular Stress Fracture

Crystal is an elite basketball player who landed on her right foot after doing a jump shoot and suffered from severe foot pain a week ago. She was taken off the court as she could not continue weight-bearing. Subsequently, she was seen by another colleague and found to be having tenderness and fullness (oedema) over the inner portion of the dorsum of her right foot. Her X-rays showed a Type III Navicular Fracture.


The navicular bone, located in the midfoot, articulates with the head of the talus, cuboid, and the three cuneiform bones that are involved in the acetabulum pedis. It gives attachment to the spring ligament (superomedial and inferior calcaneonavicular ligament)that can be injured in a failure of the posterior tibialis tendon and cause an adult acquired flatfoot deformity. The navicular bone provides insertion for the posterior tibialis tendon. Some pathologies can be related to the presence of an accessory navicular bone.Osteonecrosis or stress fractures can affect the navicular bone because of its poor vascularization, especially in its central portion.

Radiological classification of Navicular Fracture: dorsal cortical break (type I), fracture propagation into the navicular body (type II), and fracture propagation into another cortex (type III). It includes modifiers "A" (avascular necrosis of a portion of the navicular); "C" (cystic changes of the fracture), and "S" (sclerosis of the margins of the fracture).

She was placed in a non-weight bearing cast for 4 weeks (as she wanted play if there was no pain!). I saw her at 4 weeks post-injury and her repeat X-ray did not show much callous formation. She was placed in a functional walking brace (Donjoy) and advised minimal weight bearing for another 2-4 weeks. She was told that such fractures may take a longer period to heal and some studies suggest that surgery (ORIF) may be an option. I prescribed her low frequency ultrasound treatment (Exogen) to encourage bone healing. Most studies suggest that conservative (non-surgical) management provide good results for non-displaced navicular fracture but a few small studies suggest that elite athletes may benefit from surgery in type II or III fractures. Return to sporting activity varies from 3.0 months (Type I), 3.6 months (Type II) and 6.8 months (Type III) according to Saxena et al*.

*J Foot Ankle Surg. 2000;39(2):96-103

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Stopping Smoking

Cigarette smoking has been known to adversely affect sporting performance. Despite efforts by the honorable Sports Minister to discourage smoking amongst athletes, elite athletes have found it difficult to stop smoking. Despite making sports venues and training centres smoke-free areas, the general public continue to smoke in these places due to lack of implementation of the smoking ban by the health and sports authorities. Recent developments in medicine has shown that new pharmacotherapy may offer better options to assist athletes in this cause.

The efficacy of smoking cessation methods was systematically reviewed by a United States Public Health Services (USPHS) committee during the development of an evidence-based clinical practice guideline for physicians released in 2000. Based on meta-analyses of the existing data, the USPHS panel concluded that 2 smoking cessation methods had the best evidence of efficacy: behavioral counseling and pharmacotherapy (nicotine replacement products -- gum, patch, lozenge, oral inhaler, and nasal spray -- or the antidepressant bupropion*., known as Zyban or Wellbutrin SR). A combination of counseling and pharmacotherapy produced the best results. There was no evidence to support the efficacy of other methods, such as hypnosis or acupuncture. An independent systematic review of this evidence, conducted by a global network of researchers (the Cochrane Collaboration), came to the same conclusions.

In a randomized trial in which bupropion was compared directly with the nicotine patch, patients using bupropion had significantly higher quit rates at 1 year than those using either the patch or placebo. However, nicotine replacement products and bupropion are considered fairly equivalent by most experts, so patient preference and medical conditions should dictate choice of therapy. The USPHS clinical practice guideline states that combining the patch with other forms of NRT resulted in higher quit rates than use of the patch alone, and recommends that combining nicotine replacement products be encouraged if the patient has failed on monotherapy. Ad lib use of nicotine gum or lozenge with the patch may help to reduce acute cravings. Bupropion SR may also be used in combination with nicotine replacement products, although as mentioned above, combining the patch and bupropion has not resulted in significantly higher rates than bupropion alone.

These meta-analyses also found that physician advice to quit improved adult cessation rates, and the addition of brief counseling (less than 3 minutes) was even more effective. Effectiveness further increases with greater counseling contact time, including proactive telephone counseling.
(adapted from a Medscape CME article).

4 weeks treatment with Bupropion costs RM300 to the athlete. It is estimated that the treatment would last 7 to 12 weeks to be effective. Nicotine patches are often not a treatment of choice as the profuse sweating of athletes may affect the effective use of the patch.

Disclaimer: Athletes are advised to seek your doctor's advice before taking these medication.

*2008 Update: In the WADA 2008 Prohibited list bupropion is considered as a Substance under the WADA Monitoring Programme 2008.