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.


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.


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).


Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury: Symptoms and Treatment

Anterior cruciate ligament injuries are some of the most common injuries of the knee. And now that summer is just around the corner, orthopaedic surgeons will be seeing more and more ACL issues in adults and children.

The anterior cruciate ligament is the ligament in the knee that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. Tears of this ligament can require surgery if severe enough. If you think you have torn your ACL, it is imperative that you seek medical attention from a physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon.

An anterior cruciate ligament injury can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you think you might be suffering from and ACL injury, check the following list of symptoms:

  • Severe pain in the knee that often results in loss of movement and activity.
  • A popping sensation in the knee that often produces an audible sound.
  • Swelling that sets in within a few hours of sustaining the injury.
  • Feeling of instability when trying to put weight on the knee.
  • Decrease in range of motion.
  • Feeling of warmth when touching the knee joint.

Treatment for knee injuries varies greatly from one person to another. Depending on the severity of your tear, a surgeon might recommend surgery to repair the ligament. However, in some milder cases, rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.) might allow the injury to heal without surgical intervention.

Reconstruction of the ACL through surgery, has a high success rate. The purpose of this surgery is to restore stability of the knee joint and to restore overall function of the ligament. In many cases, athletes will be able to return to sports after surgery and physical therapy.

If you think you have torn your anterior cruciate ligament, make sure to see your doctor or surgeon for proper evaluation. Waiting too long without evaluation could lead to further pain and injury.

Labrum Repair Surgery: Treatment for Shoulder Injury

Labrum repair is a surgical approach to address a tear in the shoulder. A labral tear of the shoulder involves a piece of fibrocartilage. This tissue connects to the edge of the shoulder socket and helps keep the joint secure.

Some symptoms of a labral tear include:

  • A feeling of locking or popping in the shoulder joint
  • Pain when lifting items above your head
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Feeling of instability or sensation that the shoulder could pop out of socket
  • Overall weakness in the shoulder

If you are suffering from a labral tear, non-surgical treatment may be sufficient. An orthopaedic surgeon may first recommend rest and anti-inflamatory medications to address the issue. However, if this course of action is unsuccessful, a larbum repair surgery could be the next step.

A tear in the labrum can be the result of an acute injury or gradual wear and tear. Whatever the cause, getting back your range of motion, without pain and discomfort, is the primary goal.

Athletes such as cheerleaders, often suffer from labral tears due to repetitive stress on the shoulder joint. Read what one patient had to say about her experience with labrum repair surgery:

“As a competitive cheerleader, the demands my body experiences are great. I needed a labrum repair in both of my shoulders and Dr. Rabenold could not have been a better choice. He explained everything he did and got me back to competing ahead of schedule! I couldn’t be more thankful for his skill and the time he took with my family and I.”  — ANNA

If you think you might have a labral tear, make an appointment to see an orthopaedic surgeon. Getting the appropriate diagnosis is the first step in treating this injury.

Labrum repair surgery has a high success rate. Seeking out an orthopaedic surgeon that is fellowship trained in shoulder surgery is an important consideration to make. A shoulder and elbow specialist will have focused experience in this type of surgery.

Ten Questions to Ask Your Orthopaedic Surgeon Before Surgery

Are you looking for a great orthopaedic surgeon? Do you have an injury or issue that requires surgery? Whether you are just starting the process of finding the right orthopaedic surgeon or have found one that you like, there are several questions you might want to consider asking prior to having surgery.

No matter how minor or major your procedure seems, surgery is a big deal. Aside from the procedure itself, there are several factors to think about before taking the leap. When you meet with an orthopaedic surgeon, be sure to write down the questions you want to ask. Do not go into your surgery with unanswered questions or uncertainty.

Here are the top ten questions you should consider asking your orthopaedic surgeon before surgery:

  1. What insurance do you take? Even the top orthopaedic surgeon in your area isn’t going to be a perfect fit for you if they do not take your insurance plan. Some procedures can cost thousands of dollars. You need to be certain of your benefits and the coverage you have before settling with an orthopaedic surgeon.
  2. What will recovery look like? Depending on the type of surgery you are preparing to have, recovery can vary significantly. Do not make assumptions or rely strictly on internet searches to understand what your recovery will look like. Each individual is different. Factors like gender, age, weight and physical health can drastically impact the way your body heals. Ask your surgeon what you can expect starting on day one all the way through until you are fully recovered.
  3. What are your credentials? Information about a surgeon’s credentials should be readily available from their website. Some things to consider are researching the difference between a medical doctor (M.D.) and a doctor of osteopathy (D.O.).
  4. What is the success rate for this procedure? Don’t be afraid to ask about your surgeon’s past experience with your type of case. You want to make sure that your expectations are realistic.
  5. What is your experience with this specific type of surgery? Ask how many cases he or she has treated with this procedure. It is important that you feel comfortable with their experience level.
  6. What hospital or surgery center will you perform my surgery? Location might not seem like a big issue for some people. However, the facility itself can vary quite a bit. Is it close to your house? Will a surgery at a hospital mean a great risk of infection? Is there a greater likelihood of a delay at a hospital?
  7. Do you use any advanced technologies or innovative approaches to my specific condition? Simply knowing the number of cases treated is not enough to decide if this is the right surgeon for you. If a surgeon is using an old technique or approach as opposed to a newer, more innovative method, you might want to reconsider.
  8. Are there alternatives to surgery to treat my condition or issue? Orthopaedic surgeons do more than just operate. There are many non-surgical interventions to treat certain issues. Be sure to explore alternatives before making a final decision on your surgeon.
  9. What possible complications could arise from treatment? Be sure to ask the orthopaedic surgeon about both best case scenarios and any side effects or problems that could result.
  10. Are you fellowship trained in my specific area of need? Some orthopaedic surgeons complete residency and continue on to a fellowship program to further specialize in an area of expertise such as shoulder and elbow or foot and ankle. Some patients prefer to work with a surgeon that has received extra training with their condition or injury.

There are several other things to consider when looking for an orthopaedic surgeon. Click here to learn more.

Cheerleading Injuries: Prevention and Safety for Athletes

There is no better time to address the severity of cheerleading injuries than National Cheerleading Safety Month. From minor sprains to severe breaks and head injuries, cheerleading can be a very dangerous sport. If you or your loved one participates in cheerleading, there are a number of facts you need to consider to ensure a safe season.

Identifying an injury sustained during a cheerleading activity as soon as possible will increase the chances of a full recovery. Trying to participate after sustaining an injury can lead to a more severe issue if left untreated. Always consult a physician such as an orthopaedic surgeon to ensure that prompt, appropriate treatment is provided.

Common cheerleading injuries include:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Foot and ankle fractures
  • Neck and back strains including stress fractures of the back and general lower back pain
  • Sprains of the knee
  • Wrist fractures or sprains
  • Elbow pain caused by tendonitis
  • Pitcher’s elbow involving chips of bone flaking off in the elbow joint resulting from bones hitting each other
  • Fractures of the hand
  • Head injuries including concussions
  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears
  • Jumper’s knee or patellofemoral syndrome
  • Muscle strains including hip and groin strains

As you can see, the list of cheerleading injuries is very extensive. Some injuries are fairly minor while others could sideline an athlete for an entire season. Obviously, some injuries are unavoidable while others can be completely prevented. The best line of defense against sustaining a cheerleading injury is proper training and techniques.

Preventing cheerleading injuries:

  • Never attempt a new skill without proper instruction and support.
  • Always practice on safe surfaces with adequate padding and free from equipment.
  • Stretch and hydrate before and after practices and events.
  • Be sure to wear braces or other protective gear if you have a previous injury.
  • Wear proper footwear to provide adequate stability.
  • Use spotters when performing stunts.
  • Be sure to have a sports physical to be certain you are in good health before starting a new season.