Bunions: Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatment

If you have a bunion, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be to get through your daily routine. Bunions form at the base of the big toe creating a deformity in the joint. As the big toe pushes against the next toe, it causes the joint to protrude, often appearing red and swollen.

Bunions can be painful and can create limitations in your daily life. In addition to limited movement in the big toe joint, the pain can worsen depending on the type of footwear you choose.

How can you find relief if you suffer from bunions? There are a number of options, both surgical and non-surgical. Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon that specializes in foot and ankle is a great way to determine the best treatment options for you. After a physical examination and possibly an x-ray, the orthopaedic surgeon can help you develop a treatment plan.

Here are some of the common ways to treat bunions:

  • Use ice to hep reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Find and wear shoes that are comfortable, supportive and allow plenty of room for your toes. Wearing shoes with a wider toe box will alleviate cramping.
  • Arch supports or orthotics that insert into your existing shoes can also help by distributing weight evenly on your feet.
  • Cortisone injections along with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can provide temporary relief by reducing swelling.
  • Surgical treatment options include straightening the toe out by removing some of the bone and/or removing inflamed tissue surrounding the joint.
  • A surgeon might elect to realign the bone or in some cases even fuse the bones in the joint together permanently.

Suffering from bunions does not have to be an accepted part of your life. If you have bunions that cause pain and limit your daily activity, make an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to get a clear diagnosis and a treatment plan.

 

Top Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Running season is in full swing and that means it is prime time for a variety of lower body injuries. Running injuries can happen to the novice athlete as well as a seasoned runner. If you are a runner or thinking about becoming a runner, it is important to know how best to avoid injury.

Some of the top running injuries include:

  1. Shin splints are a painful type of injury that often result from overuse. Also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), shin splints are often marked by a feeling of pain on the inside portion of the tibia.
  2. Plantar fasciitis is a sharp, tight sensation on the bottom of the foot. Plantar fasciitis can result from overuse as well as not wearing supportive footwear.
  3. Runner’s knee, Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is another common running injury. It is characterized by pain felt under the kneecap caused by an inflammation in the tissues where the patella meets the femur.
  4. Illiotibial band syndrome can be confusing for some runners as the symptoms can seem like a knee injury. The illiotibial band runs from the pelvis down to the knee. Pain from this syndrome can range from the hip, down the leg and around the knee area.
  5. Stress fractures resulting from running are very common and painful. Frequently characterized as an overuse injury, stress fractures develop due to the repetitive, high impact nature of running.
  6. Ankle sprains can easily happen for a runner no matter how experienced you are. Sprains result from a twisting or rolling of the ankle joint that stresses the ligaments of that joint. Symptoms include swelling and inability to bear weight on the foot.

Running injuries range dramatically in severity and duration. Some injuries can take months to recover from while others can be treated effectively over a few weeks. Preventing running injuries is definitely easier than treating them so make sure you take proper precautions no matter how experienced you are as a runner.

Preventing running injuries can be fairly simple. Being prepared with supportive footwear is one of the most important things you can do. Make sure you are fitted for the correct size and with a shoe that offers good support.

Another key for preventing running injuries is fueling your body. In addition to hydrating before, during and after a run, you should also take in a balance of protein, carbs and leafy greens. Keeping your body strong and hydrated during a run prevents fatigue that can lead to poor form.

Be sure to stretch before and after your run to prevent sore muscles. Further, space out your runs rather than running multiple days in a row. The high impact nature of this sport makes it likely to develop overuse injuries quickly.

Running injuries are very common. If you do suffer from an injury, you can try treating it at home with rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.). However, if your injury makes it painful to walk or if it has not gotten better after a few days, it is best to seek evaluation from an orthopaedic surgeon.

 

Injuries at School: Consulting an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Back to school is an exciting time for kids and parents alike. Children look forward to reuniting with their friends and getting back into their favorite fall sports. But back to school also signifies a spike in some common orthopaedic injuries for many kids.

As a parent, it can be difficult to determine how serious an injury is. If your child is hurt at school, you likely did not observe the incident and therefore may not have an accurate picture of the severity of the injury. So how do you know if your child’s injury is more than just a playground oops? Consider the following questions?

  1. Is your child able to move all of his or her body parts? This is especially important when it comes to a potential head/neck injury. If your child is not able to move all body parts, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
  2. Is your child experiencing numbness or tingling? Again, in cases or head or neck injury, this is a red flag and must be assessed immediately.
  3. Can your child bear weight on the injured body part? Inability to stand or walk can signify a sprain or broken bone in the lower extremity. If this is the case, an orthopaedic surgeon can easily evaluate the injury and determine the best treatment.
  4. Is the body party swollen or disfigured? Many orthopaedic injuries mirror one another with symptoms. As a parent, it is tough to distinguish the difference between a sprain, broken bone or torn ligaments. For this reason, it is important to have an orthopaedic surgeon examine your child to diagnose and treat an injury that includes swelling or a body part that looks disfigured after an injury.
  5. Can your child put pressure on the injured body part? This questions is similar to asking if they can bear weight on the injured body part. With the upper body, it is important to see if your child will let you put moderate pressure on the injury and if they can move it without pain.

If a back to school injury has gotten your child down and out, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention. It can be difficult to know whether or not the injury warrants a trip to the emergency room, urgent care or a visit to an orthopaedic surgeon. If you have any doubt at all, it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

 

 

 

Treating Shin Splints: Five Tips for Successful Recovery

Shin splints are a very common and painful injury. Frequently associated with running, this condition is often thought of as an overuse injury. If you have developed pain along the inner edge of your tibia, it is possible that you have shin splints.

Suffering from shin splints can make the most simple daily activities painful. It may be beneficial to see a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon to rule out other issues such as stress fractures or tendinitis. Once you have appropriately identified the cause of your pain, it is possible to treat the issue at home.

There is not a quick fix to alleviate the pain caused by shin splints. However, trying these five simple steps can gradually bring relief.

  1. Use ice or a cold pack at various times throughout the day. Applying ice to the affected area for about 15-20 minutes at a time, can help with the pain. Remember, it is never safe to apply ice directly to the skin. Use a cloth or towel as a barrier to protect your skin.
  2. Rest your legs. Shin splints are often associated with starting a new exercise routine and doing too much too quickly. It can take weeks to recover from this injury so you will need to be patient and trust that rested the impacted area is the best course of action to treat the issue.
  3. Some medications can address both pain and swelling. Ibuprofren, aspirin and naproxen can be effective in treating both of these symptoms associated with shin splints.
  4. Physical therapy exercises can also be helpful in treating shin splints. Simply stretching the muscles in your legs can help with tightness and make activities such as walking less painful. Increasing flexibility in your legs can make a big difference. Additionally, working with a certified massage therapist to increase blood flow can be beneficial.
  5. Picking supportive footwear, especially footwear with orthotics, can be very helpful in treating your shin splints. For some people, footwear can be at the root of the issue. If you have been exercising with footwear that is not supportive, it is possible to develop a variety of injuries, not just shin splints. Therefore, choosing the correct footwear is both preventative and corrective.

If you think you are suffering from shin splints, be sure to see a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon to get a proper diagnosis. Specifically, a foot and ankle fellowship trained surgeon will have expertise in this area of the body.

 

 

Shoulder Arthritis Symptoms and Treatment

Shoulder arthritis can be an extremely painful and limiting condition. Whether you have been diagnosed with a type of shoulder arthritis or suspect your might have this affliction, you are likely suffering from one or more key symptoms.

There are a few different types of shoulder arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type. It is also known as degenerative joint disease. This type of shoulder arthritis develops over time as smooth cartilage wears away, causing rubbing between the rough ends of the bones. The end result is a very painful, restricting condition.

Symptoms:

The main symptoms of shoulder arthritis are pain and decreased range of motion. The shoulder is a complicated part of the body. Arthritis may not be limited to one part of the shoulder. Some people have pain and limited motion in the ball and socket joint of the shoulder. Other people experience pain in the joint where the collar bone and scapula meet.

In addition to pain and loss of motion, some people also experience a grinding sensation in the shoulder when doing certain activities. This can be painful as well as irritating. Further, some individuals report feeling weakness and/or stiffness in the shoulder.

Treatment:

If you have been experiencing any or all of the symptoms in your shoulder for an extended period of time, it is wise to seek the opinion of an orthopaedic surgeon. Specifically, it is advisable to see a surgeon that is fellowship trained in shoulder and elbow.

Once you have been given a diagnosis, your orthopaedic surgeon can review the options for treatment of your shoulder arthritis. Surgery might be an option but there are other non-operative treatments that could help. Here are some of the steps that could help relive symptoms of shoulder arthritis.

  • Rest and modifications of  specific daily activities
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Ultrasound
  • Anti-inflammatory medications

If you think you are suffering from shoulder arthritis, do not ignore the symptoms. Seek treatment and explore your treatment options.

 

Preventing Heat Exhaustion and Heat-Related Injuries

When the temperature rises and outdoor activity increases, it is a sure sign that summer is here. This can be great for our health as we are more active. However, as summer gets into full swing and temperatures reach dangerous levels, the risk to overall health can also be threatened. Heat exhaustion and heat-related injuries are very serious issues to look out for this summer.

Preventing heat exhaustion and heat-related injuries is fairly simple if you know a few facts. The first step to avoiding these serious conditions is understanding your own risk factors as well as your family members.

We all need to be careful when physically active outside during high temperatures. But some people are already at a greater risk for heat exhaustion and heat-related injury because of certain personal factors. These factors include but are not limited to age, overall health, body fat percentage, clothing, exposure to direct sun and hydration level before activity.

People with a high risk for heat exhaustion and heat-related injury include children, elderly individuals, people with a high body fat percentage, people wearing dark clothing and individuals with direct exposure from the sun.

Ways to prevent or decrease the likelihood of heat exhaustion and heat related injury:

  1. Hydrate adequately before engaging in physical activity in the heat.
  2. Wear light colored clothing as it does not absorb heat in the same way that dark clothing does.
  3. Take frequent breaks.
  4. Know your limits. If you have not been in a routine of exercising outside, it is not wise to start up a new program without building up your stamina and endurance.
  5. Avoid exercising in the heat if you have a fever. You will be more prone to over-heat quickly.
  6. Stay out of the direct heat as much as possible.
  7. Listen to heat warnings and advisories. Check your local weather to be aware of the expected conditions before planning to be outside doing any physical activity.
  8. Continue to hydrate frequently before, during and after physical activity.

Beyond the obvious health risks associated with heat exhaustion, other injuries can result from too much activity in the heat. As your body loses salt and water through perspiration, weakness and fatigue can set in very quickly. You could be more prone to injuries when your body isn’t able to perform as it should. You could be more likely to lose your balance, trip and generally use poor form during activity. These circumstances can easily result in a bad fall, strain, sprain or even a broken limb.

Just as important as preventing heat exhaustion and heat-related injury is recognizing the warning signs. Be sure to listen to your body and to stop activity if you are not feeling well.

Elbow Pain: When to Seek Treatment

Elbow pain is a common issue that millions of people deal with on a daily basis. It can greatly impact your day to day activities as well as create issues at work and play. If you are suffering from elbow pain, it is possible you already know the source of the pain. However, some individuals report having elbow pain without knowing the specific cause of this discomfort.

Identifying the source of your elbow pain can help in determining the best course of treatment. Did you suffer a one time injury? Do you have a condition such as arthritis? Does your work or exercise routine require repetitive movement with the elbow joint causing an overuse injury?

Here are some of the most common causes of elbow pain:

  • Elbow fracture
  • Elbow dislocation
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Bursitis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Nerve issues (cubital tunnel syndrome or radial tunnel syndrome)
  • Elbow strains and sprains

Meeting with an orthopaedic surgeon, specifically one trained in elbow conditions, can help you determine not only the cause but also the best way to treat your elbow pain. Some types of elbow pain are easily treatable at home with rest and ice but other elbow issues will need medical attention.

If you have been suffering from pain for several days and the pain has either been constant or has gotten more intense, you may benefit from getting an evaluation by an orthopaedic surgeon. Further, if your pain is accompanied by swelling and/or bruising, you could have a more serious issue that requires medical treatment. If you have sustained an injury that has severely limited the use of your elbow without pain, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon might be the best option.

If you are hesitant to see an orthopaedic surgeon for fear that the treatment plan will include surgery, you can rest easy knowing that there may be alternatives. Surgery is optimal for some types of elbow pain but many elbow issues can be treated non-surgically. In some cases, physical therapy, rest and medication will be enough to relieve your pain and address the underlying issue.

Preventing Cycling Injuries: Top Five Tips for Cyclists

Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise for people of all ages and skill levels. The low impact nature of cycling has many health benefits. However, it can be dangerous to assume that cyclists are immune to sustaining injuries.

Cycling engages many parts of the body. Literally, from your head to your toes, your entire body is susceptible to injury if you are taking your bike out on the road. So how can you avoid some of the most common types of cycling injuries? Prevention starts before you even put your feet on the pedals.

Tips for preventing cycling injuries:

  • Select the proper bike. Do you need a road bike, cyclocross bike, mountain bike or hybrid bike? These are just a few of the common types of bikes out there. The best way to match a bike to your specific needs is to research and talk with a professional. This might involve going to a cycling store to get fitted for the best bike for your body type and skill level.
  • Get proper protective gear. Just as important as the bike itself is the gear that you will need to wear on your body. While you never anticipate wrecking your bike when you head out for a ride, it is a very common and potentially disastrous situation. Sustaining a head injury from a fall is one of the most dangerous bike injuries. For this reason, a helmet is one of the most important pieces of gear you can wear. Be sure that the helmet fits securely to your head.
  • Stay hydrated. While dehydration itself is not an injury, it can lead to fatigue and poor form. If your body is unable to maintain proper form during a ride, it is possible that you will react more slowly to your surroundings. Staying hydrated during a ride helps to ensure your body is working efficiently throughout your workout.
  • Know your limits. Whether you are new to cycling or a seasoned veteran, it is important to know your body and how hard it can go. Be sure to stretch appropriately before hitting the road and after you are done.
  • Avoid common overuse injuries. Overuse injuries are some of the most common issues facing cyclists. The repetitive motion of your legs pushing and pulling during a ride, can lead to a variety of injuries if you don’t listen to your body. Muscle cramps, achilles tendonitis and chondromalacia are common injuries associated with overuse. If you start to feel sore or tightness in your legs, knees or ankles, make sure to rest your body. Do not push yourself into worsening what might be a very minor issue.

Cycling can be a wonderful form of exercise if you take the appropriate precautions. If you do find yourself suffering from a biking injury, don’t put off getting and assessment. Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to get an accurate diagnosis can help you to get back on the road soon. Whether you simply need rest to recover or require surgery, an orthopaedic surgeon can help you determine the best course of treatment to get you back to your exercise routine.

Shoulder Pain: When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Shoulder pain can be a debilitating issue that interferes with the simplest of daily activities. If you suffer from shoulder pain, you know how much it can impact your fitness routine, ability to work and even to get dressed in the mornings. Shoulder pain can be a chronic issue, lasting for several months or even years. It can also be an acute issue, brought on by a trauma or injury. Whatever the cause or duration of your shoulder pain, getting the appropriate treatment to address the source is key to getting back to your normal life.

There can be many types of shoulder pain associated with the joint comprised of your humerus, clavicle and scapula. The following are the primary sources of pain in the shoulder joint:

  • A fracture in one of the three bones; the humerus, clavicle or scapula; can result from a high impact sports injury. It can also result from taking a fall from a significant height or from a car accident.
  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis, is very common in causing pain in the shoulder area. This condition devlops slowly and tends to get worse with time.
  • Inflamation of the tendon, tendinitis, or a tear in the tendon can result in significant shoulder pain. Tendinitis often results from overuse of the joint. This can be related to issues such as arthritis or from excessive, repetitive movements in certain jobs or sports.
  • Instability of the shoulder joint, including total dislocation or subluxation, can be extremely painful and chronic. If the head of the upper arm bone slips out completely or partially from the socket, a dislocation occurs. A partial dislocation is also called a subluxation. A major issue with this type of injury is the fact that once it happens, you are more prone to repeating the injury. This occurs as the tissues holding the joint in place become loose.
  • Tumors and infections can also contribute to shoulder pain so it is important to rule out all causes.

With so many different causes of shoulder pain, you can see why it is so important to first determine the source before understanding the appropriate course of treatment. If you have been suffering from shoulder pain for several days and rest has not addressed the issue, seeing an orthopaedic surgeon may be the best option. In the office, an orthopaedic surgeon, especially one trained in shoulder issues, can get a better understanding of your shoulder pain. From a complete medical examination and possibly an x-ray, MRI or ultrasound, the physician can evaluate the source of your pain.

An orthopaedic surgeon should be able to determine not only the source of your pain but also the appropriate course of treatment. This could mean surgery but could also be something less invasive like physical therapy. This will vary greatly from one person to the next taking into consideration factors like age, activity level and past medical history.

Knee Pain: When to See an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Knee pain can significantly limit your daily activities and exercise routine. The complicated knee joint can lead to a lot of problems if you sustain an injury.

Keen pain can be caused by an acute injury like a trauma or sudden twisting motion. Knee pain can also result from over use or a gradual progression of an injury. Some of these injuries can be treated successfully at home while others will require medical attention. How do you know which course of action will be enough to treat your knee pain?

If you have been suffering from knee pain, ask yourself the following questions to determine whether or not you could benefit from visiting a doctor such as an orthopaedic surgeon.

  1. Is the pain around the knee severe? Is it extremely painful to walk?
  2. Does the knee feel as is it is locking up when you fluctuate between bent and straight positions?
  3. Is the knee joint swollen?
  4. Does the knee joint feel unstable as if your leg will give out when you put pressure on it?
  5. Do you feel or hear a popping or cracking sound in the knee joint when you walk or straighten your leg out?
  6. Did you suffer an acute injury that has limited you from doing your normal exercise routine or daily activities for more then 72 hours?
  7. Are you unable to go up and down stairs without experiencing pain?
  8. Have you attempted to treat at home unsuccessfully by using rest, ice, compression and elevation for two weeks?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it would be beneficial to make an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon. Attempting to wait out the injury could result in a more serious issue. If knee pain does not decrease, further activity could lead to a very serious injury.

Making an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon to assess your knee pain does not necessarily mean you will require surgery. Surgeons will assess the pain and determine the least invasive means of treatment including but not limited to physical therapy, a steroid injection or even an injection of platelet rich plasma (PRP).