Dr. Maureen Kennedy

  • Exercise in the cold can induce asthma

    Q: My daughter has "exercise asthma." Is that the same thing as asthma? A: It's the time of the year when cold-weather sports are underway. As we get closer to winter, the cold air may scare away the summer exercise crowd, but activities such as curling, hockey, skating and skiing can be fun and great for fitness. However, what happens if motivation is not the issue, but breathing in cold air is very uncomfortable? For some individuals, this is the time of year when exercise-induced asthma becomes a problem.
  • Even healthy people get anemia

    Q: My doctor recently told me that I have anemia. I was surprised to hear that because I thought only really sick people got anemia. How does one get anemia? A: You are striving to be the picture of health. Your lifestyle habits are on the right track: getting regular exercise, avoiding junk food, watching your weight — all the smart choices to keep yourself full of energy and vitality. So, with everything going your way, how could you possibly get anemia?
  • Resolutions: Five ways to make you healthier

    It's a new year with new hope to make life healthier and better in 2012. With numerous New Years’ resolutions to choose from, it can be difficult to know which choice will improve your health the most. If you are a smoker, your number one priority should be to quit this year. If you are a non-smoker, there are many other important choices you can make. Here are some simple but powerful health moves that can change your life in 2012.  1. GET YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE CHECKED
  • Expensive MRI scan often not necessary

    Q: I have a sore hip that has been bothering me for two months. I would like to get an MRI scan but my physician feels it is premature to order (one). Why do I have to wait for an MRI to be ordered? A: This test takes a picture of your injured/affected area while you are lying on a special table. There is no radiation exposure with an MRI, unlike X-rays and CT scans. The MRI shows all the soft tissue that we cannot see on a regular X-ray. It is an expensive test that has to be ordered based on true need.
  • Is obesity a health risk, or not?

    It can be quite confusing reading research headlines in the media. It seems so many studies are contradictory; for example, you read that salt intake is bad or salt is not so bad, alcohol consumption is bad or some alcohol is good, vitamins help you live longer or vitamins do not help your health at all. What is the consumer supposed to believe? Which research results have validity and which have less impact than advertised? A recent example of research where the conclusions were emphasized in the media was a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on obesity and mortality. This study followed obese Americans over two time periods of five and six years duration. It concluded that a staging system could be used to predict which obese patients are more likely to have a shortened life span, taking into account health problems other than obesity. Further, the findings were presented in the media as a potential tool to decide who most needs bariatric (weight reduction) surgery. In addition, news reports stated that the study demonstrated that obesity is not a health risk for many obese patients.
  • Do research before buying shoe inserts

    It is common to experience some aches and pains with running, especially if you are a beginner. If you decide to train for an event, the way you pace your running is important. Sometimes, more running can lead to pain in the inside of the foot, the shins or the knees. It is very simple to blame these problems on the way your lower limb is lined up, otherwise known as your alignment. However, there can be many potential explanations for your running discomfort, so it is wise to figure this out before you purchase custom shoe inserts (orthotics).
  • How to avoid heat illness

    Summertime can bring beautiful, warm weather that invites you do your physical activity outside. If you are not accustomed to a warm climate or to exercising in warm weather, you can suffer from heat illness. Of course, the safest option would be to exercise early in the day before the heat becomes intense (before 10 a.m.) or later in the day as it starts to cool down (after 4 p.m.). However, many outdoor sports or matches take place during the day, so it is important that you prepare yourself for difficulties that can occur with exercising in the heat. Exercising in hot weather can make you feel sluggish and even exhausted. Trying to stay cool can be a challenge depending on what type of activity you are participating in. If your activity has no cool shelter, you will probably notice that you cannot exert yourself for a long period of time. It can be so uncomfortable that you can begin to feel physically and mentally unwell. Every year, there are thousands of reported cases of heat illness in North America. The true number is likely much higher because many cases are not reported.
  • Man alive!

    What could be more exciting for guys, the return of NHL hockey to Manitoba or seeing the doctor for a checkup? Well, the former probably wins hands down. However, men's health deserves a little more attention. While women are perceived as needing regular screening tests to detect cervical and breast cancer, men often take more of an optional attitude to their health checkups.  
  • Lace up runners, but tread carefully

    With the snow and cold weather now fading, the outdoor running season is in full swing with a plethora of fundraising events. You can jog, walk, push the baby cart and go at your own pace. If you are trying to train for a distance event, such as a 10-kilometre walk or run, and you are not used to these kinds of distances, you need to be aware that running to get into shape means also running to avoid injury. You need to know how much load your body can handle and be realistic about your training goals. Here are the most common running ailments seen in sport medicine and how to avoid them:  
  • Clicking, painful hip not a snap to diagnose

    Q: I have heard that if you have a click in your hip, you might have "snapping hip." Is this a real condition? What is "snapping hip"?  
  • Arthritis common issue in knee joint

    Q: I have been having kneecap pain for years. My doctor ordered an MRI and it showed that I have some arthritis in my knee and a cartilage tear. I was surprised to hear that I did not need surgery for my cartilage tear. Are these cartilage tears a benign problem?  
  • How to find a qualified personal trainer

    Getting into shape is still high on the list of favourite new year's resolutions. It is not easy to find the time to exercise. If you need to lose weight, it can seem like a very difficult task. If you have a health condition, it can be very confusing as to what type of exercise you should be doing. Forming new habits requires the support of your family and friends, especially when you are making changes that will profoundly affect your quality of living for the rest of your life. Professional support from individuals who understand your health and fitness can be very motivating. In the fitness field, these individuals are most commonly referred to as personal trainers.  
  • Physician-approved holiday gifts

    The Christmas and holiday season can be both a joyous and stressful time of year. Healthy habits are often set aside during the holidays in favour of excessive eating and drinking. It is difficult for weight-loss diets to succeed against the tide of holiday feasting. However, we can still give a little bit of thought to our health at this time of year and have some fun doing so. Gift-givers can be reluctant to consider healthy gifts for those other than fitness buffs. Furthermore, selecting a health gift requires tact and sensitivity. You do not want to buy a gym membership for your loved one who needs to lose 50 pounds when they have expressed no interest in going to the gym.
  • Be patient, wait for frozen shoulder to 'thaw'

    Q: I have been struggling with a sore shoulder for three months. At first, I just had pain when I lifted my arm up to reach for something but now, I can only lift my arm halfway up. My neighbour had something like this before and she was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. Does this sound like frozen shoulder?  
  • Hip pain in kids merits investigation

    Q: My son is very active, playing hockey and karate, plus lots of school activities. For the past two weeks, he has been complaining of hip pain. Should I keep him out of sports until the pain goes away?  
  • Better safe than sorry on summer howl-idays

    Whether you are out at the cottage, camping or out on a day trip to a park, enjoying the summer can sometimes bring some unexpected bumps and bruises. If you are far away from home, you may not have access to your regular doctor, nurse or any nearby physician. So, what should you do if you get hurt on the go with limited supplies and help? You can start with a little bit of planning and a simple medical kit to help you manage the summer ills. Patients often ask what to apply or take if unexpected injury happens. Here is a look inside my summer family medical kit:
  • Twist and shout

    In comparison to other sports, golf is not a game that we think of as being risky or dangerous. It is an activity that you can play whether you are age 7 or 75, and it's popularity is growing, with more than six million Canadians teeing it up every year. However, like any physical activity, golf can lead to sore muscles, joints and tendons, with an estimated 15 injuries for every 100 golfers in a year. Pain in the lower back, elbow and shoulder are the most common trouble areas for golfers.  
  • Stilettos look great but may prevent you from kicking up your heels

    Q: I started to have a lot of great toe pain with a new pair of high-heeled shoes and since that began, I have not been able to wear any high-heeled shoes. What can I do, as I cannot wear running shoes to work?  
  • The doctor is in

    It's another typical hockey season, which means plenty of rough play, falls and tumbles. It's all part of the game. A mom comes into my office with a common story. Her son is 15 years old and had a concussion last month playing hockey. She wants to know if it is safe for him to keep playing. First of all, I am pleased to see this parent seeking medical advice, as too often concussions are treated as non-events. The answer to her question depends on several factors, all to be addressed once a sport medicine assessment is completed. Any parent would be upset if their child suffered a concussion. Although medical reports are difficult to track, about 10 per cent of emergency room visits for children are for head injuries, with indications that up to 40 per cent of kids in contact sports may have had a concussion by the time they reach college age.

About Dr. Maureen Kennedy

Born and raised in The Pas, Dr. Kennedy graduated from the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, earned a BSc and BA from the University of Winnipeg and an MD from the University of Manitoba in 1994. After certifying in family medicine at the University of Manitoba, Dr. Kennedy was awarded a two-year fellowship in primary care sport medicine at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre. She completed this fellowship along with a MSc in Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. Her research focus was exercise counselling by family physicians. Dr. Kennedy further explored the use of exercise in medicine with PhD projects examining aerobic exercise in individuals scheduled for total hip or knee replacement surgery. She holds a diploma in sport medicine from the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine and has served on numerous provincial and national committees for organizations such as the Alberta Medical Association, Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine, College of Family Physicians of Canada and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.

For the past 11 years, Dr. Kennedy has practised as a consultant in primary care sport medicine.

Dr. Kennedy's practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of injuries, muscle, bone and joint problems, orthopedic triage, weight management, osteoarthritis and dance medicine. She has served as the head physician for Alberta Ballet for the last nine years and has worked with the national women's hockey team along with many elite and amateur athletes in various sports. She points out that sport medicine physicians provide a tremendous service to the general public and the health-care system by shortening orthopedic waiting lists and providing non-surgical treatment options. "It's great to be back home in Manitoba and Winnipeg is a fantastic city," she adds. Readers can expect coverage on a wide range of fitness and health topics, including insider's tips on how to navigate the health-care system.


Will you be partaking in any Grey Cup festivities this weekend?

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