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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Orthopedic Conditions: What is a Torn ACL?

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Orthopedic-Conditions-Symptoms-and-Treatment-Torn-ACL

Athletes and fitness fanatics alike are familiar with the phrase “torn ACL.” It is one of the more painful orthopedic conditions, and it usually affects athletes and those with an active lifestyle — but it can also strike those with less active daily lives.

What is the ACL?

In addition to bones and joints, the knee is held together by four principal ligaments that allow for flexibility, support and ease of movement. While all ligaments are important, the function of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) makes it the most vital and the most delicate. The ACL, which runs diagonally through the middle of the knee, provides stability in rotation for the knee and protects it from hyperextension. In other words, it keeps the knee stable and in place by preventing it from going farther in any one direction than it should.

What Happens When Your ACL Tears?

The ACL can be torn in a variety of ways. In sports, when the knee locks and pivots or twists at the same time, the ACL gets caught in the sudden motion and tears. This type of tear is common in high-impact sports such as basketball and football, as well as in fitness activities such as running and jogging. An ACL tear can also happen as a result of a major injury or accident, where the knee has taken a direct blow or has locked and twisted abnormally. Statistically, women are more prone to suffer from a torn ACL.

Torn ACL Symptoms and Treatment

As opposed to many other orthopedic conditions, a torn ACL is fairly easy to recognize. Most people who have suffered an ACL injury report hearing a pop of the knee at the moment of injury, followed by intense pain and gradual swelling. If left untreated, a torn ACL may cause complications that require long-term chronic pain management, which is why it’s important to see a specialist as soon as symptoms occur.

Treatment for an ACL injury greatly depends on the activity level of the person suffering the tear. For instance, someone who lives a less active lifestyle and has a minor tear may be able to heal with non-surgical treatment options, including pain medications, physical therapy and exercises to strengthen the knee and promote healing.

Those with a more active lifestyle, particularly athletes, may benefit best from arthroscopic surgery. This minimally invasive surgical procedure allows orthopedic specialists, who focus on this type of surgery, to reconstruct the ACL using a graft of tissue taken from the patient’s body. Prior to surgery, three weeks of rehabilitative therapy and exercise are recommended to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings. After surgery, pain medications and ongoing physical therapy are recommended to restore the knee’s range of movement. Recovery time for this kind of surgery is usually about six to nine months.

Orthopedic Conditions: What Causes Joint Pain?

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Orthopedic-Conditions-Joint-Pain-Causes

Joints connect your bones, allowing for flexibility, mobility, and support. Because joints are an essential part of our daily activities, those who suffer from joint pain can experience a wide spectrum of pain throughout the day. Joint pain is one of the most common orthopedic conditions. It is often related to conditions like arthritis; however, there are many non-arthritic causes of joint pain such as gout, sprains and strains.

Common Causes of Joint Pain

As the population ages, joint-related orthopedic conditions become much more commonplace. This is due to the joints and surrounding bones, tendons, and ligaments wearing out or becoming affected by problems like gout, bursitis, tendonitis, and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, which affects approximately 27 million Americans, is also known as degenerative joint disease. This condition occurs when the protective cartilage at the end of the bone has begun to wear out.

In addition to arthritis, those suffering from fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, and, in some rare cases, bone cancer, are vulnerable to joint-related pain. Damage to joints and surrounding tissue can cause both short and long term problems, but age appears to be the primary reason for joint pain that requires chronic pain management.

Symptoms and Treatment for Joint Pain

The key symptoms of joint-related pain include joint swelling, redness, tenderness, warmth, stiffness in the joint, weakness, loss of range of motion in the joint, locking of the joint, and limping. These symptoms are often debilitating enough to necessitate help from an orthopedic specialist. One of the hallmark symptoms of arthritis is joint pain, generally caused by inflammation and erosion of the joints and cartilage between the bones.

Treatment options for joint pain depend on the underlying cause of the pain. Due to the variety of orthopedic conditions which can result in joint pain, it’s important for patients to be diagnosed properly in order to proceed with treatment. Treatment for these conditions can be immediate or part of a comprehensive chronic pain management plan. They may include one or more of the following:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. Topical creams made specifically for arthritis pain and prescription muscle relaxers.
  • Physical therapy, which can help strengthen muscles around the joints and stabilize them.
  • Steroid injections can alleviate severe instances of joint pain, such as; arthritis, tendinitis, and other chronic conditions.
  • Lifestyle changes, especially exercise and weight loss, can help reduce joint pain in those who are overweight.
  • Other techniques such as heat, ice, rest, and glucosamine supplements can be helpful in reducing the joint-related pain.

Learn more about joint pain from some of the most knowledgeable orthopedic specialists available today at www.miorthorelief.com.