Seven Tips for Fourth of July Fireworks Fun


By Tanasia Jackson

Last year, the American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) projected $675 million to be spent on consumer fireworks to celebrate Independence Day. The spike in sales is mainly due to the liberation of consumer fireworks laws, leading to an increase in backyard firework usage, according to Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director of APA.

To correlate with the fireworks liberation, the number of fireworks-related injuries and fires has decreased 43 percent since 2000. Injury statistics have declined, but safety is still top priority.

Here are seven safety tips on how to enjoy fireworks displays, but avoid the danger that could accompany them.

  1. Make sure the fireworks are legal
    You are encouraged to report the manufacturing or selling of any illegal fireworks, such as M-80’s and quarter sticks to your local police or fire department. You may also call the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB (1-888-293-2662).
  1. Know your fireworks
    If your fireworks came in a brown paper bag, they are most likely for professional use. Leave those to the professionals and purchase consumer fireworks instead.
  1. Avoid homemade fireworks
    Do not experiment with explosives or fireworks made unprofessionally.
  1. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix
    Alcohol causes impaired judgment and decreased perception and coordination. Fireworks should be used with caution, which requires an unaltered state of mind.
  1. Adult supervision is necessary at all times
    All fireworks have the potential to cause injury, therefore children should never be allowed to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. If older children are able to handle fireworks, adult supervision should still be present.
  1. Do not point or throw fireworks at someone
    Pointing or throwing fireworks at someone has the potential to cause serious harm to the person and their surroundings.
  1. Never relight a “dud”
    You should allow 20 minutes before approaching a malfunctioning firework. After the allotted 20 minutes, soak them in water and throw them away.

When accidents occur, visit the OrthoIndy Trauma Center at St.Vincent Indianapolis for
fireworks-related injuries.

Comment below and tell us how you celebrate the Fourth of July or make a promise to be safe while handling fireworks at


Tanasia Crop

Posted by, Tanasia Jackson, the OrthoIndy Marketing Intern during summer 2015. During her internship, Jackson wrote a wide array of articles and blog posts, as well as aided in social media and media relations tactics for OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital. Jackson will graduate from Ball State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a communications studies minor

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Doctors Examining X-ray Report

Featuring OrthoIndy Spine Surgeon Dr. Gregory Poulter

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery does not correspond to any one particular surgery but refers to a surgical philosophy and the techniques that have been developed with this philosophy in mind. The idea behind minimally invasive spine surgery is to perform a surgery with the least amount of disruption to surrounding tissues as possible, while providing a procedure that is just as safe and effective as one performed with a traditional approach.

Why make an incision any larger than what is needed to perform a procedure safely and effectively? Minimally invasive surgery was made possible by the advent of technologies that allow us to access the spine and hold tissues out of the way without damaging them. As these technologies have been refined over the years, minimally invasive spine surgery has become more common.

What types of spine surgery can be performed with a minimally invasive technique?
Minimally invasive techniques have been developed to replace most of the traditional spine surgeries. Microdiscectomies, laminectomies and fusions are commonly performed as minimally invasive surgeries. There are advanced techniques for scoliosis and fracture surgery as well. This is not a complete list. In general, spine surgery has advanced greatly in the last 10 years. Much of the improvement has come from minimizing the disruption of surgery.

Can all spine surgeries be performed with a minimally invasive technique?
The first priority should be that a patient has a safe and effective procedure. Every consideration should be made to minimize the impact of a surgery and reduce complications. Often this includes the use of a newer minimally invasive technique. While most common conditions can be effectively cared for with minimally invasive surgery, there are times when the nature of the problem warrants a more traditional larger incision.

Do all spine surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive techniques are new to spine surgery and there are many surgeons who completed their training prior to the advent of these procedures. As a result, the field of spine surgery is in transition with some surgeons being very comfortable offering these techniques while others have yet to include them in their practice.

Is minimally invasive spine surgery better than traditional surgery?
As mentioned before, minimally invasive spine surgery is not one technique but a variety of techniques. However, in general it has been demonstrated that post-operative pain and time for recovery is reduced by minimally invasive techniques. For spinal fusions, minimally invasive surgery has shown to decrease the risk of infection and other complications while providing the same or better success rate for the fusion. For these reasons, minimally invasive techniques are considered an advancement in spine surgery.

How do I know if a surgeon is trained in minimally invasive surgery?
This is difficult. At this time there is no specific training or certification in minimally invasive spine surgery. You can research surgeons in your area that offer these techniques. If you visit with one, ask them about the techniques they offer and their comfort level performing them.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Poulter, please call (317) 802-2424 or request an appointment online at

Water sports and distal biceps tendon tears

Woman study riding on a wakeboard

By: Megan Skelly

For a lot of Indiana residents, summer time means spending time outdoors at the lake. Whether it’s cooking out, fishing or boating there is plenty to do to keep everyone busy. With all the fun, sometimes it’s hard to remember to stay safe.

Water sports, such as skiing or tubing, can cause serious injuries. One injury common to water sports is distal biceps tendon tears.

Distal bicep tendon tears typically result from an eccentric contraction of the biceps. An eccentric contraction means that while the muscle is contracting, it is lengthening; muscles normally shorten when they contract, also called a concentric contraction. An example of an eccentric contraction is lowering a weight down after doing a biceps curl. Tears occur when the eccentric contraction is unexpected or very violent.

“Water sports, such as skiing and tubing, can cause a violent eccentric contraction of the biceps as you attempt to hold onto the rope, as the boat pulls you out of the water,” said Dr. Chris Bales, OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist. “Weight lifting can also result in distal bicep tendon tears; such as bicep curls with too much weight or pull-ups.”

Dr. Bales explained that any lifting activity could result in a biceps tendon tear, such as helping someone move a couch or TV and one person lets go. The other person lifting the object tries to hold on and his or her arm is forcefully brought down (an eccentric contraction) tearing the biceps tendon.

At the time of injury, someone with a distal biceps tendon tear would feel a pop in their elbow, associated with sharp pain. Most will develop swelling and bruising over the front and inside part of the elbow. Most will have some limitations in their range of motion due to swelling and pain.

Dr. Bales added that in most active and younger patients the biceps tendon tear is treated with surgery to re-attach it the bone. This allows for almost full return of strength. After surgery most individuals are back to regular activities by three to four months, but full return of strength can take six months or longer.

“In less active individuals, non-operative treatment can be considered,” said Dr. Bales. “This consists of ice, elevation and use of a sling as needed for comfort. Patients will modify activities until pain symptoms decrease and then begin working on range of motion and regaining strength. Studies have shown anywhere from 25 to 50 percent loss of flexion and supination strength with non-operative treatment, as well as a similar loss in endurance strength.”

Proper warm-up and stretching before sporting activities and proper lifting technique can help decrease the chance of a distal biceps tendon tear.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Bales please call (317) 268-3632 or request an appointment online.

OrthoIndy Partners with Greater Indy Habitat to Provide a Veteran a Home


By: Tanasia Jackson

In its second year partnering with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, OrthoIndy will provide a home this summer for a veteran in need of affordable, quality housing. In addition to donating the funds to build the house, OrthoIndy executives, physicians and employees will construct the home in the Barrington neighborhood north of Beech Grove alongside future homeowner, Vito Sanders, and local veteran-serving groups.

“The physicians, nurses and employees of OrthoIndy are excited to partner with Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity for the second year in a row,” said John Dietz, OrthoIndy spine surgeon. “All of our lives have been touched by the sacrifices our nation’s service men and women have made. It is an honor for us to have this opportunity to express our gratitude and build a home for a veteran. We all sincerely hope that this home will welcome and shelter its veteran for many years to come.”

Sanders is excited to build his first home with OrthoIndy volunteers. “I think this is a wonderful opportunity not only for the chance to become a first-time homeowner but also to gain the awesome experience in volunteering to help others realize this dream as well,” said Sanders. “I look forward to being able to help wherever I can during this process in order to make sure other people, more deserving people, are given such a wonderful chance to grow in life.”

Each Habitat homeowner completes 300 sweat-equity hours, which includes homeownership and financial education classes and volunteer hours on their home, before they purchase their home with a no-interest mortgage.

“Through the partnership with OrthoIndy, our affiliate is now better connected to veterans and veteran-serving organizations in our community, enabling Habitat to increase service to this population,” said Jim Morris, Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity President and Chief Executive Officer. “The generosity of OrthoIndy has extended the impact of this Veteran Build project and given us the opportunity to better understand the shelter needs of veterans in our community.”

Construction on the Veteran Build will began June 4th and continues through August 11th. The home dedication is tentatively scheduled for Friday, August 14th.

Tanasia Crop

Posted by, Tanasia Jackson, the OrthoIndy Marketing Intern during summer 2015. During her internship, Jackson wrote a wide array of articles and blog posts, as well as aided in social media and media relations tactics for OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital. Jackson will graduate from Ball State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a communications studies minor.

National Safety Month: What do you live for?

Safety First road sign against blue sky

By: Tanasia Jackson

Safety is the highest priority for the National Safety Council (NSC). Every June, NSC focuses on ways to reduce the lead causes of injury and death, whether it is in the workplace, on the road or at home.

National Safety Month 2015 is dedicated to passions and life experiences. The NSC is asking you to ask yourself, “What do I live for?” The list could be endless, but no matter what your answer may be, we can all work together to live safely by focusing on these five important topics.

  1. Prescription painkiller abuse
    Narcotic pain medications are often effective for post-op pain. The worry of addiction is common among patients; however addiction is unlikely to develop after the short use of narcotics. There are other factors that can contribute to the abuse of prescription painkillers, including family history, childhood trauma and mental illness.The physicians at OrthoIndy work with patients to give the best solutions to lead to better outcomes. When given a pain medication prescription, it is crucial to use these medications as directed.
  1. Transportation safety
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day, more than nine people are killed and 1,060 more are injured in crashes that involved a distracted driver. Today, nine people will not be able to ask themselves, “What do I live for?” Driving safely and undistracted is important and can save lives.OrthoIndy created a campaign called I Promise to encourage people in our community to make a promise to be safer. Visit our campaign site to make your promise to be a safer driver. When accidents happen, promise to choose OrthoIndy.
  1. Ergonomics
    Ergonomics is the study of an individual’s efficiency in their working environment. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most frequently reported causes of the loss of work time, affecting the efficiency of employees.Poor ergonomics can lead to cubital tunnel syndrome, elbow injuries, tendinitis and other musculoskeletal disorders, all of which can be treated at OrthoIndy.
  1. Emergency preparedness
    Being prepared for an emergency and having a plan is important at home, school and the workplace. Natural disasters are common to certain areas so start your plan knowing which of those generally occur in your location. Create an emergency kit with daily necessities and place in an area accessible to everyone.For more emergency preparedness tips, visit the CDC’s Emergency Preparedness and Response page.
  1. Slips, trips and falls
    This topic is most likely the easiest to prevent, yet the most common. With summer just around the corner, outside projects and spring cleaning are normal, harmless activities. Locations known for fall injuries include doorways, cluttered areas and ladders – all of which are normally seen during outside projects and spring cleaning.Remember to clean cluttered areas, especially in doorways and narrow hallways, and follow these ladder safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

This June, join the NSC and OrthoIndy in making safety your highest priority. Promise to live a safer life for yourself and others by joining the I Promise campaign.

Tanasia Crop

Posted by, Tanasia Jackson, the OrthoIndy Marketing Intern during summer 2015. During her internship, Jackson wrote a wide array of articles and blog posts, as well as aided in social media and media relations tactics for OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital. Jackson will graduate from Ball State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a communications studies minor.

How to Avoid Pesky Shin Splints


Runner injury shin splint

By: Megan Skelly

As the weather continues to warm up, downtown Indianapolis sidewalks are becoming busier and the Monon Trail is becoming a lot more crowded. Whether it’s simply to stay in shape or train for an upcoming marathon, more individuals are heading outdoors to get active and run.

Running is a popular activity for those who are looking to get in shape without going to the gym. However, like any activity, runners do experience a variety of injuries. There are very few runners that haven’t, at some point in their running career, had a case of shin splints.

Shin splints are due to stress across the tibia (shin bone). Typically, shin splints are the result of repetitive impact activity such as running or jumping on hard surfaces.

According to Dr. Michael Thieken, OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist, individuals that participate in activities or sports that occur on harder surfaces are more susceptible to shin splints; such as running or playing basketball.

“Pain in the tibia or shin is the most common symptom of shin splints,” said Dr. Thieken. “Typically it’s a dull aching pain that occurs in the posterior medial tibia just below the mid-portion of the bone; this area is often tender to touch. The pain is usually heightened during activity and relieved by rest.”

So what can you do if you are experiencing this pain?

Treatment is almost always nonsurgical. A period of rest is the best way to treat shin splints. It may take several months and involve decreasing training intensity or duration, changing the training surface or completely eliminating the activity altogether. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heel cord stretching and use of orthotics may also be advised.

“Unfortunately, there is no absolute way to prevent shin splints,” said Dr. Thieken. “The most important controllable factors are a gradual conditioning program and regular stretching. Shin splints usually follow a sudden increase in frequency, intensity or duration of athletic training. One should always slowly increase their training regimen over a realistic time period.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Thieken please call (317) 802-2863 or request an appointment online.

Is gluten-free for me?

gluten free flours and typography

By: Melissa Foor, Clinical Nutrition Manager and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at OrthoIndy Hospital

By now almost everyone has heard of the phrase, ‘gluten-free’. It is a huge craze right now and there have even been multiple comedy spoofs of people claiming to be gluten-free despite not knowing exactly what gluten is.

One that comes to mind is a video where Jimmy Kimmel asked people in Los Angeles if they were gluten-free. When they answered yes he asked them what gluten was. Jimmy received a variety of responses including:

  • “This is pretty sad, because I don’t know.”
  • “Gluten’s in bread, a flour derivative. It’s like a grain, right?”
  • “It’s the wheat in products such as bread, pastas or rice. I haven’t researched it to the fullest. I have a girlfriend from Russia who got me into it. She’s reading a book about it.”
  • “It is a part of the wheat that… I really don’t know.”

For the record, gluten is a combination of two proteins: gliadin and glutenin. It is found in wheat, barley and rye products. It is responsible for the elasticity in dough and helps provide that chewiness you find in pizza, which is usually made from high-gluten flour.

A lot of people hear gluten-free diet and think that it’s a diet for weight loss. A gluten-free diet is actually prescribed for people who have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Celiac disease is an auto-immune condition where the gluten does not cause damage, buttriggers the immune system to attack the small intestine. As a result, villi in the small intestines can be damaged. Symptoms include: malnutrition, pain and discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract, diarrhea, fatigue, anemia, constipation and atopic dermatitis, a skin disorder.

Vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition can occur in those with celiac disease since the small intestine is a main site of absorption for many nutrients. Many people with celiac disease may also be lactose intolerant because the lactase enzyme that digests the lactose in milk is normally on the villi of the small intestine. The only known treatment for celiac disease is a 100 percent gluten-free diet.

Gluten intolerance is a condition where the body is unable to digest gluten fully resulting in bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation and fatigue. It is usually less severe than celiac disease and gluten is what actually causes the symptoms. Research is still being conducted on these two conditions as gluten intolerance remains highly controversial.

Maybe you have tried a gluten-free diet and decided that you felt better. Does that mean that you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance? Not necessarily. A true diagnosis can only be given by a physician. Sometimes the same symptoms may be irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Often you may just feel better because your grain consumption changes from around 90 percent wheat products to all different types of grains including certified gluten-free oats, rice or brown rice and quinoa, just to name a few. Varying your food intake will help you feel better because moderation is important. If you are eating a large amount of anything, eventually you will start to feel bad.

A lot of people claim that they can lose weight on a gluten-free diet. Sure, that is a possibility, but it’s definitely not a guarantee. You may make healthier choices when eating out because the only thing a restaurant offers that’s gluten-free may be a salad without croutons or grilled chicken with vegetables. Or you could make worse choices when buying groceries because a lot of gluten-free processed foods amp up the sugar and fat content to help improve the flavor. A comparison of one cup of regular flour and white rice flour shows that white rice flour is higher in calories, has more carbohydrates and less protein:

All-purpose Wheat Flour                                                     White Rice Flour
455 Calories                                                                         578 Calories
95.4 g Carbohydrates                                                         127 g Carbohydrates
3.4 g Dietary Fiber                                                               4 g Dietary Fiber
12.9 g Protein                                                                       9 g Protein

A lot of times gluten-free processed foods have minimal dietary fiber making it hard for people to reach the recommended amounts.

Following a gluten-free diet is hard, especially when eating out. Many restaurants may not realize that they are cross-contaminating foods that could be gluten-free by using the same fryers for breaded products and French fries, or using the same knife to cut bread and lettuce. If you are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, this can be frustrating to make sure that you are consuming an entirely gluten-free diet.

Although a gluten-free diet may not be required for you, there are some healthy practices you can adopt. When eating out at a restaurant, choose to order healthier dishes that could be gluten-free such as grilled chicken or fish with vegetables or a salad without croutons and plenty of vegetables. Incorporate different types of grains into your diet instead of relying almost exclusively on wheat. Serve up a side of brown rice or risotto with your meal instead of macaroni and cheese. Put together a quinoa salad with vegetables and a sauce instead of having a breadstick as a side.

Listed below are recipes that include other types of grains:

Mexican Brown Rice
1 can (12 ounce size) chopped tomatoes, keep the juice
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 cup corn
1 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 package taco seasoning mix
2 tsp sugar
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

  1. Add the water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add all the ingredients, except the corn. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until water has been absorbed into rice.
  2. Average cooking time is 60 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, add in cooked corn, and fluff with fork.

The great thing about quinoa is that it works great at any temperature, hot, room-temperature or cold from the refrigerator. It’s a great grain to make ahead and pack for lunch or a snack. It also contains protein.

Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Tomatoes, and Spinach
1 whole garlic head
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbspn finely chopped shallots
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp dry white wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1/3 cup chopped seeded tomato (1 small)
1 tbsp shaved fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Remove papery skin from garlic head. Cut garlic head in half crosswise, breaking apart to separate whole cloves. Wrap half of head in foil; reserve remaining garlic for another use. Bake at 350° for one hour; cool 10 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp. Discard skins.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper to pan; cook one minute. Add quinoa to pan; cook two minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in garlic pulp, spinach, tomato, cheese and salt. Serve immediately.

Quinoa Salad with Artichokes and Parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped spring or sweet onion
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
5 tsp grated lemon rind
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and thyme; sauté five minutes or until onion is tender. Add artichokes; sauté two minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add broth and quinoa; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 18 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley, rind, juice and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This works great if you prep everything except the popped amaranth the night before for a quick breakfast!

Honeyed Grapefruit Yogurt Parfait with Popped Amaranth
½ cup wide-flake unsweetened coconut
1 grapefruit
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup raw amaranth
4 tsps honey or 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the coconut until golden brown, five to seven minutes.

  1. Segment the grapefruit.
  2. Toast the Amaranth – Use a taller pan than you think, pour the dry grains into a dry pan, cook over medium-high heat until they gently pop, three to five min. They won’t grow in size but they’ll turn white, like tiny beads of popcorn. They can burn quickly so be sure to watch the pan closely. Once most have popped, some will still be golden brown, pull the pan off the heat.
  3. To assemble the parfaits, spoon ¼ cup yogurt into the bottom of a glass or jar. Top with a few segments of grapefruit, 1 tbsp popped amaranth, 1 ½ tbsp toasted coconut and 1 teaspoon honey. Repeat. Enjoy soon after assembly.

You can prepare everything the night before leaving out the amaranth, and just add the amaranth on top if you would like.

Buckwheat Pancake Recipe
1 cup Buttermilk
1 egg
3 tbsp butter, melted
6 tbsp All-purpose flour (or Gluten-free All-purpose Flour)
6 tbsp Buckwheat flour
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp butter

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and melted butter.
  2. In another bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, salt and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir until the mixture is just combined.
  3. Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium-hot and place 1 tbsp of butter or oil into it. Let the butter melt before spooning the batter into the pan. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over and cook on the other side.

How do you stay healthy? Share your tips below!

IMG_5123Melissa Foor is the current Clinical Nutrition Manager and Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at OrthoIndy. Melissa is responsible for the nutrition management of all inpatients at OrthoIndy Hospital as well as assisting in management of the Food Services department. She graduated with her master of science in dietetics from Eastern Illinois University in 2014 while completing her internship at St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, IL. Melissa attended Michigan State University from 2008-2012 graduating with a bachelor of science in dietetics. She has been with OrthoIndy since December 2014.