Everything you need to know during an active summer
Summer in Texas means more time to be outside and active. Whether you’re enjoying running, swimming, skiing, hiking, team sports, or triathlons, unexpected pain or injury can slam the brakes on all the fun. In fact, each year in America 135 million adults and kids make ambulatory visits to
an orthopedic expert, more than three million are hospitalized for orthopedic issues, and nearly $245 billion is racked up in orthopedics- related medical costs.
If you’ve found yourself with back pain, a sports injury, arthritic hips and knees, stiff neck muscles, or other musculoskeletal complaints, and you’re not finding relief with simple rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, it’s time to seek the help of an orthopedic specialist, particularly if you’re experiencing:
• Difficulty performing daily functions (like walking up the stairs or carrying grocery bags)
• Pain in muscles, tendons, or joints that persists for more than a few days
• Joint pain that becomes more intense during periods of rest
• Swelling or bruising around a joint or the location of an injury
• Limited range of motion, such as an inability to straighten your back
• Joint deformity
• Signs of infection including heat, inflammation, fever, or redness
• Any unusual symptoms in the pained area
An orthopedic specialist is devoted to the diagnosis, treatment,
prevention, and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders, and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system. That includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons. Many specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, hand, shoulder and elbow, spine, hip, or knee—or may choose to focus on specific fields such as pediatrics, trauma, reconstructive surgery, oncology (bone tumors), or sports medicine. Whatever the focus, orthopedic specialists can help you with a variety of things.
If you enjoy any type of sporting activity, you probably already know you’re at risk for injuries to your bones, ligaments, and muscles. The advantages of having an orthopedic doctor evaluate, diagnose, and treat your sports injury (rather than simply seeing your usual doctor) is that most have experience treating a variety
of athletic injuries in everyone from weekend warriors to pro athletes. They can work to restore function and often develop a program to help you avoid injury in the future.
If you’ve ever had a pinched nerve, you know it’s not a pain you can easily ignore. The amount of time it takes for pinched nerve pain to subside varies greatly from person to person. In many cases, pain can be relieved by simply resting the injured area and avoiding activities that worsen them. But each case is uniquely different. If symptoms from a pinched nerve persist or pain is severe, you may need the help of orthopedic treatment to shrink swollen tissue around the nerve.
A spinal disc consists of a soft center encased in a tougher exterior that rests between the individual vertebrae along your spine. A herniated disc occurs when that soft center pushes out through the tough exterior of the disc, irritating nearby nerves and resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in an arm or leg. An orthopedic specialist can work with you to develop an individualized plan for relieving pain and other symptoms.
ACHILLES TENDON RUPTURE
If your Achilles tendon ruptures, you’ll likely feel a snap or pop, followed immediately by pain in the back of your ankle and lower leg, usually affecting your ability to walk. Surgery is often the best option to repair an Achilles tendon rupture. But each case is different and should be evaluated as such.
FOOT AND ANKLE OR ARM AND ELBOW INJURY There are 26 bones in the human foot and ankle and 64 in the arm, wrist, and hand. A wide range of injuries can affect these areas at any age, including fractures, ruptures, sprains, tennis elbow, broken and fractured bones, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and general pain. An orthopedic specialist can initially help you manage pain then work with you on a plan to address your problem and help you avoid further injury or damage.
If conservative treatment methods like physical therapy and
interventional pain management haven’t relieved your neck or back pain, spine surgery might be an option. But any spine surgeon should exhaust all non-invasive options before considering surgery for chronic upper and lower back pain, slipped or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, myelopathy, and more. Common spine procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons include laminectomy, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), osteotomy, and spinal fusion surgery.
ARTHROSCOPIC KNEE SURGERY
Knee arthroscopy is one of the most frequently used procedures for the diagnosis and treatment of knee injuries. This minor surgical procedure is done using an instrument called an arthroscopy. While the knee is the joint most often viewed and operated on using the arthroscope, other joints such as the shoulder, elbow, ankle, hip, and wrist can also be viewed with this instrument. This state-of-the-art technology can help an orthopedic specialist properly evaluate your injury and recommend the best treatment options.
HIP OR KNEE REPLACEMENT
Most of us know someone who’s undergone a hip or knee replacement. It’s truly amazing how far this technology has come. Hip or knee replacement surgery is an option for anyone with severe hip or knee pain that’s not relieved by non-surgical methods. Full joint replacement can relieve pain and restore full function to the joint.