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The word arthritis means "joint inflammation." Arthritis refers to more than 90 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that damages the lining surrounding our joints while also destroying our bones, tissue, and joints. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly damages the cartilage surrounding the bones ends and is common in the hip, knee, or spine.
In the low back, nerves join to form the sciatic nerve, which runs down into the leg and controls the leg muscles. Sciatica causes radiating pain, numbness, tingling, and/or muscle weakness in the leg but originates from nerve root impingement in the lower back. A herniated disk or spinal stenosis most often causes nerve impingement.
Chronic strain, overuse, or misuse of a tendon leading to a repetitive stress injury, lead to a weakness of the tendon tissue, resulting in pain and stiffness near the tendon. Tendonitis usually occurs in the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, thumb, or wrist.
Bursitis is an inflammation of a bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac located around a joint. Bursitis causes a reduction in or a loss of motion at the affected joint. Bursitis typically occurs in the heel, hip, knee, shoulder, or thumb.
Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a condition in which the tissues around the shoulder joint stiffen, scar tissue forms, and shoulder movements become difficult and painful.
It can develop when you stop using the joint regularly because of pain, other injuries, or a chronic health condition like diabetes.
Any shoulder problem can lead to a frozen shoulder if you do not work to maintain its full range of motion.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the term used to describe a specific group of symptoms (tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain) in the fingers or hand.
These symptoms occur when there is pressure on a nerve (median nerve) within the wrist (carpal tunnel).
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops over time because of repetitive hand motions that damage muscle and bone in the wrist area.
The medial and lateral menisci (plural of meniscus) of the knee are two crescent moon-shaped discs of tough tissue that lie between the ends of the upper leg bone and lower leg bone that form the knee joint.
Meniscus tears commonly occur during sports when the knee is twisted. In people over the age of 40 whose menisci are worn down, a damage might occur with normal movement or minimal activity.
A stress fracture is a microscopic crack in a bone that occurs from overuse.
Muscles typically absorb the shock of physical activities, but when they become too fatigued to do so, they transfer the stress to the bones, which results in a hairline-sized fracture.
Stress fractures usually develop in the weight-bearing bones of the feet and lower legs.
A bone density test is used to diagnose osteoporosis, which is a disease that weakens bones and ultimately results in fractures.
In the past, osteoporosis could only be detected after a person’s bone broke; however, it is possible to know one’s risk of breaking bones before one break through a bone density test.
Common areas that are tested using a bone density scan include the spine, hip, and forearm.
Internal fixation is a treatment to hold pieces of a broken bone in the correct position with metal plates, pins, or screws while the bone is healing.
Corticosteroids, more commonly referred to as cortisone, is a steroid that is naturally produced in the body. Synthetically produced cortisone can also be injected into soft tissues and joints to help decrease inflammation.
While cortisone is not a pain reliever, pain may diminish as a result of reduced inflammation.
In orthopedics, cortisone injections are commonly used as a treatment for chronic conditions.
The immediate response is called RICE
- Ice (No heat)
- Compression (wrap it)
Use ice in the acute stage of an injury (within the first 24 – 48 hours), or whenever swelling is showing. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area that is injured. Apply ice indirectly (not directly on the skin) for 10 minutes, remove the ice for at least 20 minutes, and repeat as necessary.
Heat is used to increase blood flow, which helps promote pain relief after inflammation and swelling subside. Heat is also used to assist in warming muscles up before exercise, any physical activity, or physical therapy.
A fracture is a break in a bone. Fractures can occur in any bone in the body and are often the result of high force impact or stress.
A sprain is an injury of the ligaments, the rubber band-like tissues that connect bones. When the ligaments are stretched past their normal range of motion, the result can include swelling and severe pain.
The rotator cuff can become damaged or inflamed as in tendonitis in many ways. Overuse irritates rotator cuff, pinching or impingement can cause painful symptoms, severe untreated tendonitis can cause a partial or complete tear.
MRI may be necessary to assist in diagnosis. Several conservative treatments might include rest, cold and heat, medication, and in some instances, physical therapy, which helps in healing and strengthening.
Most orthopedic injuries and conditions are treated without surgery, using a range of treatments that include activity modification, physical therapy, and medications. Surgery is an option for those conditions that do not alleviate symptoms.
The most common orthopedic surgeries are:
- Arthroscopic surgery of the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and ankle
- Joint replacement surgery, during which an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint
A Daycare surgery is a surgery that does not require the patient to stay in the hospital overnight; it's commonly known as ambulatory surgery.
Daycare surgery has grown in popularity due to the improvement in technology.
Arthroscopic surgery is a surgical procedure that is commonly performed to diagnose and treat problems within the joint. The orthopedic surgeon inserts a small instrument called an arthroscope into the joint using high-tech cameras.
The arthroscope contains a fiber optic light source and camera that allows the surgeon to view the joint on a monitor, diagnose the problem, determine the extent of the injury, and make any necessary repairs.
Joint replacement surgery is a surgical procedure that is performed to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with a new, artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Joint replacements most commonly performed in the knee, hip, shoulder, and elbow.
Joints contain cartilage, a soft, rubbery gel-like coating on the ends of bones, where they articulate, that protects joints and facilitate movement and over time, or if the joint has been injured, the cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint start rubbing together.
As the bones rub together, bone spurs may form, and the joint becomes stiff and painful. Most people have joint replacement surgery when they can no longer control the pain with medication and other treatments, and the pain is significantly interfering with their lives.