Top 10 Most Common Sports Injuries

Top 10 Most Common Sports Injuries

Whether you are a highly-trained athlete or a weekend warrior, there’s always a chance you could get injured. Unfortunately, when injuries happen, it can be hard to know what you’ve tweaked or how to treat it. Brian McEvoy, PT, UnityPoint Health, counts down the most common sports injuries, from the least common to the most common, along with possible causes, treatments and recovery strategies.

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Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain - 10 Best Exercises For Relief

Physical Therapy For Lower Back Pain – 10 Best Exercises For Relief

When you have a sedentary lifestyle, there are several problems that you might suffer. One of the most common issues is a problem with the lower back, which can be excruciatingly painful. Thankfully, a few easy exercises can offer relief. When you do them consistently, these exercises can give you long-term relief from chronic lower back pain. Here are ten exercises your physical therapist might suggest you use. Make sure you follow their instructions – these are just summaries.

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best, orthopaedic doctors, albuquerque, nm

Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery Timeline

Article Featured on Verywellhealth.com

Rotator cuff surgery is a common treatment for a torn rotator cuff. Most rotator cuff tears are treated without surgery, but there may be situations where surgery is the best treatment. In some cases, surgery is considered immediately after an injury, while in other situations, surgery is only the last step when all other treatments have failed.

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Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain

Does Weight Loss Affect Knee Pain?

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain is one of the most common complications of being overweight or obese. If you’re among the millions of people who experience chronic knee pain, even a small weight loss can help reduce pain and lower the risk of osteoarthritis (OA).

According to a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), of the roughly 100 million American adults who experience common chronic pain, nearly 20 percent, or 20 million people, have knee pain. This is second only to the number of people with lower back pain.

More than two-thirds of people in the United StatesTrusted are either overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) or obese (with a BMI of 30 or higher).

Those extra pounds increase the stress on your knees. That stress can cause chronic pain and lead to other complications such as OA.

How weight loss affects knee pain

Maintaining a healthy weight has many health benefits, including reduced risk of a number of diseases that include:

  • heart disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • certain types of cancers

Losing weight benefits knee pain in two ways.

Decreases weight-bearing pressure on the knees

Each pound of weight loss can reduce the load on the knee joint by 4 pounds. Lose 10 pounds, and that’s 40 fewer pounds per step that your knees must support. And the results add up quickly. Less pressure means less wear and tear on the knees. This lowers the risk of OA.

Reduces inflammation in the body

For years, OA was considered a wear and tear disease caused by prolonged excess pressure on the joints, particularly the knees, which, in turn, caused inflammation. But recent research suggests that inflammation is a key OA risk factor, rather than a consequence of OA.

Being overweight may increase inflammation in the body that can lead to joint pain. Losing weight can reduce this inflammatory response. One study suggests that just a 10 percent reduction in weight can significantly lower inflammation in the body. Another study found that even simply overeating triggers the body’s immune response, which increases inflammation.

The link between weight gain and OA

Being overweight or obese significantly increases a person’s risk for developing OA. According to John Hopkins Medicine, women who are overweight are four times more likely to develop OA than women who are a healthy weight. And men who are overweight are five times more likely to develop OA than men who are a healthy weight.

But losing even a small amount of weight can be beneficial. For women who are overweight, every 11 pounds of weight loss can reduce the risk of knee OA by more than 50 percent. Men who drop into the overweight category (BMI below 30) and men who drop into the normal weight category (BMI below 26) can reduce their risk of knee OA by 21.5 percent.

Easy ways to lose weight

There are steps you can take to start shedding pounds, including:

  • reduce portion sizes
  • add one vegetable to your plate
  • go for a walk after a meal
  • take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator
  • pack your own lunch instead of eating out
  • use a pedometer

Taking the necessary steps to manage your weight can help protect your knees from joint pain and reduce your risk of OA.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

What is a hairline fracture?

What are the symptoms of a hairline fracture?

What is a hairline fracture?

A hairline fracture, also known as a stress fracture, is a small crack or severe bruise within a bone. This injury is most common in athletes, especially athletes of sports that involve running and jumping. People with osteoporosis can also develop hairline fractures.

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Elbow Injuries in the Throwing Athlete

Elbow Injuries in the Throwing Athlete

Article Featured on Orthoinfo.com

Overhand throwing places extremely high stresses on the elbow. In baseball pitchers and other throwing athletes, these high stresses are repeated many times and can lead to serious overuse injury.

Unlike an acute injury that results from a fall or collision with another player, an overuse injury occurs gradually over time. In many cases, overuse injuries develop when an athletic movement is repeated often during single periods of play, and when these periods of play — games, practices — are so frequent that the body does not have enough time to rest and heal.

Although throwing injuries in the elbow most commonly occur in pitchers, they can be seen in any athlete who participates in repetitive overhand throwing.

Anatomy

normal elbow anatomy

The normal anatomy of the elbow joint shown from the side closest to the body. The bones, major nerves, and ligaments are highlighted.

Your elbow joint is where three bones in your arm meet: your upper arm bone (humerus) and the two bones in your forearm (radius and ulna). It is a combination hinge and pivot joint. The hinge part of the joint lets the arm bend and straighten; the pivot part lets the lower arm twist and rotate.

At the upper end of the ulna is the olecranon, the bony point of the elbow that can easily be felt beneath the skin.

On the inner and outer sides of the elbow, thicker ligaments (collateral ligaments) hold the elbow joint together and prevent dislocation. The ligament on the inside of the elbow is the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). It runs from the inner side of the humerus to the inner side of the ulna, and must withstand extreme stresses as it stabilizes the elbow during overhand throwing.

Several muscles, nerves, and tendons (connective tissues between muscles and bones) cross at the elbow.The flexor/pronator muscles of the forearm and wrist begin at the elbow, and are also important stabilizers of the elbow during throwing.

The ulnar nerve crosses behind the elbow. It controls the muscles of the hand and provides sensation to the small and ring fingers.

bones, tendons, ligaments of the elbow

(Left) The bones of the elbow and forearm, and the path of the ulnar nerve when the palm is facing forward. (Center) Several muscles and tendons control movement of the elbow and forearm. Shown here are the flexor muscles of the wrist that begin at the inside of the elbow and attach at the wrist bones. (Right) The ligaments of the elbow.

Reproduced and adapted with permission from J Bernstein, ed: Musculoskeletal Medicine. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2003.

Common Throwing Injuries of the Elbow

When athletes throw repeatedly at high speed, the repetitive stresses can lead to a wide range of overuse injuries. Problems most often occur at the inside of the elbow because considerable force is concentrated over the inner elbow during throwing.
baseball pitcher

Reproduced with permission from Ahmad CS, ElAttrache NS: Elbow valgus instability in throwing athletes. Orthopaedic Knowledge Online Journal 2004. Accessed December 2012.

Flexor Tendinitis

Repetitive throwing can irritate and inflame the flexor/pronator tendons where they attach to the humerus bone on the inner side of the elbow. Athletes will have pain on the inside of the elbow when throwing, and if the tendinitis is severe, pain will also occur during rest.

Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) Injury

The ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) is the most commonly injured ligament in throwers. Injuries of the UCL can range from minor damage and inflammation to a complete tear of the ligament. Athletes will have pain on the inside of the elbow, and frequently notice decreased throwing velocity.

Valgus Extension Overload (VEO)

During the throwing motion, the olecranon and humerus bones are twisted and forced against each other. Over time, this can lead to valgus extension overload (VEO), a condition in which the protective cartilage on the olecranon is worn away and abnormal overgrowth of bone — called bone spurs or osteophytes — develop. Athletes with VEO experience swelling and pain at the site of maximum contact between the bones.

Valgus Extension Overload (VEO)

The abnormal bone growth of VEO is apparent in these illustrations of the back of the elbow and inner side of the elbow. Reproduced with permission from Miller CD, Savoie FH III: Valgus extension injuries of the elbow in the throwing athlete. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 1994; 2:261-269.

Olecranon Stress Fracture

Stress fractures occur when muscles become fatigued and are unable to absorb added shock. Eventually, the fatigued muscle transfers the overload of stress to the bone, causing a tiny crack called a stress fracture.

The olecranon is the most common location for stress fractures in throwers. Athletes will notice aching pain over the surface of the olecranon on the underside of the elbow. This pain is worst during throwing or other strenuous activity, and occasionally occurs during rest.

Ulnar Neuritis

When the elbow is bent, the ulnar nerve stretches around the bony bump at the end of the humerus. In throwing athletes, the ulnar nerve is stretched repeatedly, and can even slip out of place, causing painful snapping. This stretching or snapping leads to irritation of the nerve, a condition called ulnar neuritis.

Throwers with ulnar neuritis will notice pain that resembles electric shocks starting at the inner elbow (often called the “funny bone”) and running along the nerve as it passes into the forearm. Numbness, tingling, or pain in the small and ring fingers may occur during or immediately after throwing, and may also persist during periods of rest.

Ulnar neuritis can also occur in non-throwers, who frequently notice these same symptoms when first waking up in the morning, or when holding the elbow in a bent position for prolonged periods.

Cause

Elbow injuries in throwers are usually the result of overuse and repetitive high stresses. In many cases, pain will resolve when the athlete stops throwing. It is uncommon for many of these injuries to occur in non-throwers.

In baseball pitchers, rate of injury is highly related to the number of pitches thrown, the number of innings pitched, and the number of months spent pitching each year. Taller and heavier pitchers, pitchers who throw with higher velocity, and those who participate in showcases are also at higher risk of injury. Pitchers who throw with arm pain or while fatigued have the highest rate of injury.

Symptoms

Most of these conditions initially cause pain during or after throwing. They will often limit the ability to throw or decrease throwing velocity. In the case of ulnar neuritis, the athlete will frequently experience numbness and tingling of the elbow, forearm, or hand as described above.

Doctor Examination

Medical History

The medical history portion of the initial doctor visit includes discussion about the athlete’s general medical health, symptoms and when they first began, and the nature and frequency of athletic participation.

Physical Examination

 valgus stress test

The valgus stress test.

Reproduced with permission from JF Sarwark, ed: Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, ed 4. Rosemont, IL, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2010.

During the physical examination, the doctor will check the range of motion, strength, and stability of the elbow. He or she may also evaluate the athlete’s shoulder.

The doctor will assess elbow range of motion, muscle bulk, and appearance, and will compare the injured elbow with the opposite side. In some cases, sensation and individual muscle strength will be assessed.

The doctor will ask the athlete to identify the area of greatest pain, and will frequently use direct pressure over several distinct areas to try to pinpoint the exact location of the pain.

To recreate the stresses placed on the elbow during throwing, the doctor will perform the valgus stress test. During this test, the doctor holds the arm still and applies pressure against the side of the elbow. If the elbow is loose or if this test causes pain, it is considered a positive test. Other specialized physical examination maneuvers may be necessary, as well.

The results of these tests help the doctor decide if additional testing or imaging of the elbow is necessary.

Imaging Tests

X-rays. This imaging test creates clear pictures of dense structures, like bone. X-rays will often show stress fractures, bone spurs, and other abnormalities.

Computed tomography (CT) scans. These scans are not typically used to help diagnose problems in throwers’ elbows. CT scans provide a three-dimensional image of bony structures, and can be very helpful in defining bone spurs or other bony disorders that may limit motion or cause pain.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. This test provides an excellent view of the soft tissues of the elbow, and can help your doctor distinguish between ligament and tendon disorders that often cause the same symptoms and physical examination findings. MRI scans can also help determine the severity of an injury, such as whether a ligament is mildly damaged or completely torn. MRI is also useful in identifying a stress fracture that is not visible in an x-ray image.

Treatment

Nonsurgical Treatment

In most cases, treatment for throwing injuries in the elbow begins with a short period of rest.

Additional treatment options may include:

Physical therapy. Specific exercises can restore flexibility and strength. A rehabilitation program directed by your doctor or physical therapist will include a gradual return to throwing.

Change of position. Throwing mechanics can be evaluated in order to correct body positioning that puts excessive stress on the elbow. Although a change of position or even a change in sport can eliminate repetitive stresses on the elbow and provide lasting relief, this is often undesirable, especially in high level athletes.

Anti-inflammatory medications. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen reduce pain and swelling, and can be provided in prescription-strength form. If symptoms persist, a prolonged period of rest may be necessary.

Surgical Treatment

If painful symptoms are not relieved by nonsurgical methods, and the athlete desires to continue throwing, surgical treatment may be considered.

Arthroscopy. Bone spurs on the olecranon and any loose fragments of bone or cartilage within the elbow joint can be removed arthroscopically.

During arthroscopy, the surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into the elbow joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, and the surgeon uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments.

Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, the surgeon can use very small incisions (cuts), rather than the larger incision needed for standard, open surgery.

UCL reconstruction. Athletes who have an unstable or torn UCL, and who do not respond to nonsurgical treatment, are candidates for surgical ligament reconstruction.

Most ligament tears cannot be sutured (stitched) back together. To surgically repair the UCL and restore elbow strength and stability, the ligament must be reconstructed. During the procedure, the doctor replaces the torn ligament with a tissue graft. This graft acts as a scaffolding for a new ligament to grow on. In most cases of UCL injury, the ligament can be reconstructed using one of the patient’s own tendons.

This surgical procedure is referred to as “Tommy John surgery” by the general public, named after the former major league pitcher who had the first successful surgery in 1974. Today, UCL reconstruction has become a common procedure, helping professional and college athletes continue to compete in a range of sports.

Ulnar nerve anterior transposition. In cases of ulnar neuritis, the nerve can be moved to the front of the elbow to prevent stretching or snapping. This is called an anterior transposition of the ulnar nerve.

Recovery

If nonsurgical treatment is effective, the athlete can often return to throwing in 6 to 9 weeks. If surgery is required, recovery will be very different depending upon the procedure performed. If UCL reconstruction is performed, it may take 6 to 9 months or more to return to competitive throwing.

Prevention

Recent research has focused on indentifying risk factors for elbow injury and strategies for injury prevention. Proper conditioning, technique, and recovery time can help to prevent throwing injuries in the elbow.

In the case of younger athletes, pitching guidelines regarding number of pitches per game and week, as well as type of pitches thrown, have been developed to protect children from injury.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Water Polo Study Highlights Head Injury Risk

Water Polo Study Highlights Head Injury Risk

Water polo players appear to face similar head injury risks as athletes in better-known sports, a new study finds. “For years, water polo’s head trauma risks have been downplayed or overshadowed by football-related brain injuries,” said study co-author James Hicks.

“Our data quantifies the extent of the problem and sets the stage for additional research and possible rule changes or protective gear to improve water polo safety,” Hicks added. He is chairman of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine.

“People who’ve never seen a game may not realize how physical it is,” Hicks said in a university news release. “Head-butts and elbows. Balls flying up to 50 miles per hour.”

And while no concussions were diagnosed among players in the study, the force of the head blows was “similar to those observed in collegiate soccer, another sport that is commonly studied for the risks associated with repeated head impact exposure,” he added.

For the study, Hicks and his colleagues tracked several dozen players in Division 1 NCAA Men’s Water Polo over three seasons. The players wore caps embedded with electronic sensors.

Overall, the researchers counted an average of 18 head hits per game. Offensive players were far more likely to get hit in the head than players in defensive and transition positions (60%, 23% and 17%, respectively), the findings showed. Players attacking from the left side of the goal suffered more head hits than players on the right, possibly because right-handed athletes commonly throw shots from the left zone, the researchers noted.

Offensive center was the most dangerous position in terms of hits to the head. On average, those players took nearly seven blows to the head per game, which amounted to 37% of all head impacts recorded in the study. The second-most vulnerable position, defensive center, averaged two head hits per game, according to the report.

The study authors concluded that “intercollegiate water polo athletes may represent a valuable cohort for studying the acute and chronic effects of repeated head impacts in sport to extend our knowledge of athlete physiology and neurology and to inform evidence-based policies to promote the safety of athletes and the benefits of sport.”

The study was published online May 2 in the journal PLOS ONE. In a previous study, Hicks and a colleague found that 36% of 1,500 USA Water Polo players recalled at least one concussion during their playing career.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on water polo injury risk and safety.

More Than Just Joints: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Rest of Your Body

More Than Just Joints: How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Rest of Your Body

Article by Mary Anne Dunkin | Featured on Arthritis.org

The inflammation that characterizes RA can impact organs and systems, too.

You know that arthritis affects your joints. Painful, swollen knees or fingers are impossible to ignore. But did you know that other parts of your body – your skin, eyes and lungs, to name a few – may also be affected?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease, meaning it can affect many parts of the body. For that matter, so can some of the drugs used to treat RA. Following is a listing by body part of the ways RA (and sometimes the drugs used to treat it) can affect you.

Many of these problems – such as bone thinning or changes in kidney function – cause no immediate symptoms so your doctor may monitor you through lab tests or checkups. For other problems – such as skin rashes or dry mouth – it’s important to report any symptoms to your doctor, who can determine the cause or causes, and adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

Skin

Nodules. About half of people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules – lumps of tissue that form under the skin, often over bony areas exposed to pressure, such as fingers or elbows. Unless the nodule is located in a sensitive spot, such as where you hold a pen, treatment may not be necessary. Nodules sometimes disappear on their own or with treatment with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Rashes. When RA-related inflammation of the blood vessels (called vasculitis) affects the skin, a rash of small red dots is the result. In more severe cases, vasculitis can cause skin ulcers on the legs or under the nails. Controlling the rash or ulcers requires controlling the underlying inflammation.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids, prescribed to reduce inflammation, can cause thinning of the skin and susceptibility to bruising. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which treat pain and inflammation, and methotrexate, a widely prescribed DMARD, can cause sun sensitivity. People taking biologics, a sub-category of DMARDs designed to stop inflammation at the cellular level, may develop a rash at the injection site.

Bones

Thinning. Chronic inflammation from RA leads to loss of bone density, not only around the joints, but throughout the body, leading to thin, brittle bones. Exercise, a high-calcium diet and vitamin D can all help bones, but in some cases your doctor may need to prescribe a drug to stimulate bone growth or prevent bone loss.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids can also cause bone thinning.

Eyes

Inflammation and scarring. Some people with RA develop inflammation of the whites of the eyes (scleritis) that can lead to scarring. Symptoms include pain, redness, blurred vision and light sensitivity. Scleritis is usually treatable with medications prescribed by your doctor, but in rare cases, the eye may be permanently damaged. RA can also cause uveitis, an inflammation of the area between the retina and the white of the eye, which, if not treated, could cause blindness.

Dryness. The inflammatory process that affects the joints can also damage the tear-producing glands, a condition known as Sjögren’s syndrome. The result is eyes that feel dry and gritty.  Artificial tears, which are available over the counter, as well as medications your doctor prescribes, can keep eyes more comfortable and help prevent damage related to dryness.

Drug effects. Corticosteroids may cause glaucoma and cataracts. Hydroxychloroquine, in rare cases, causes pigment changes in the retina that can lead to vision loss. As a rule, people with RA should get eye checkups at least once a year.

Mouth

Dryness. Inflammation can damage the moisture-producing glands of the mouth as well as the eyes, resulting in a dry mouth. Over-the-counter artificial saliva products and self-treatment often helps. If not, your doctor may prescribe a medication to increase the production of saliva. Good dental hygiene is a must, as bacteria tend to flourish in a dry mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Drug effects. Methotrexate can cause mouth sores or oral ulcers. For treatment, try a topical pain reliever or ask your doctor or dentist for a prescription mouthwash.

Lungs

Inflammation and scarring.  Up to 80 percent of people with RA have some degree of lung involvement, which is usually not severe enough to cause symptoms. However, severe, prolonged inflammation of the lung tissue can lead to a form of lung disease called pulmonary fibrosis that interferes with breathing and can be difficult to treat.

Nodules. Rheumatoid nodules might form in the lungs, but are usually harmless.

Drug effects. Methotrexate can cause a complication known as methotrexate lung or methotrexate pneumonia, which generally goes away when the methotrexate is stopped. Less common drugs, including injectable gold and penicillamine, can cause similar pneumonias. The condition goes away when treatment ceases; patients can usually resume the drug in a few weeks.

By suppressing your immune system, corticosteroids, DMARDs and biologics may increase your risk of tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial infection of the lungs. Your doctor should test for TB before initiating treatment and periodically after.

Heart and Blood Vessels

Atherosclerosis. Chronic inflammation can damage endothelial cells that line the blood vessels, causing the vessels to absorb more cholesterol and form plaques.

Heart attack and stroke. When plaques from damaged blood vessels break lose they can block a vessel, leading to heart attack or stroke. In fact, a 2010 Swedish study found that the risk of heart attack for people with RA was 60 percent higher just one year after being diagnosed with RA.

Pericarditis. Inflammation of the heart lining, the pericardium, may manifest as chest pain. Treatment to control arthritis often controls pericarditis as well.

Drug effects. While many RA medications, including methotrexate, other DMARDS and biologics may reduce cardiovascular risk in people with RA, other medications – chiefly NSAIDs – may increase the risk of cardiovascular events including heart attack. Your doctor will need to evaluate your risk when prescribing treatment for your RA.

Liver

Drug effects. Although RA doesn’t directly harm the liver, some medications taken for RA can.  For example, long-term use of the pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol) is considered a leading cause of liver failure. Liver diseases may also occur with long-term methotrexate use. Working with your rheumatologist to monitor your blood is key to preventing problems.

Kidneys

Drug effects. As with the liver, drugs taken for arthritis can lead to kidney problems. The most common offenders include cyclosporine, methotrexate and NSAIDs.  If you are taking these drugs long term, you doctor will monitor your kidney function to watch for problems.

Blood

Anemia. Unchecked inflammation can lead to a reduction in red blood cells characterized by headache and fatigue. Treatment consists of drugs to control inflammation along with iron supplements.

Blood clots. Inflammation might lead to elevated blood platelet levels, and blood clots.

Felty syndrome. Though rare, people with longstanding RA can develop Felty syndrome, characterized by an enlarged spleen and low white blood cell count. This condition may lead to increased risk of infection and lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands). Immunosuppressant drugs are the usual treatment.

Drug effects. Aggressively treating inflammation with corticosteroids may cause thrombocytopenia, an abnormally low number of blood platelets.

Nervous System

Pinched or compressed nerves. Although RA does not directly affect the nerves, inflammation of tissues may cause compression of the nerves resulting in numbness or tingling. One relatively common problem is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition in which the nerve that runs from the forearm to the hand is compressed by inflamed tissue in the wrist area, resulting in tingling, numbness and decreased grip strength.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Types of Joint Surgery: Understanding Your Joint Procedure Options

Types of Joint Surgery: Understanding Your Joint Procedure Options

Article Featured on The Arthritis Foundation

If you maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly, but joint pain from your osteoarthritis (OA) or other type of arthritis is still debilitating, surgery may be in your future.

This guide to common surgical options can help you have an informed discussion with your doctor about which type is best for you.

Arthroscopy

What is it? Surgeons use this technique — which involves small incisions, specialized instruments and a tiny camera — to fix tears in soft tissues around the knee, hip, shoulder and other joints; repair damaged cartilage; and remove broken, free-floating cartilage pieces.

Best candidates: Active people younger than 40 years.

Pros: Often immediately reduces pain and improves range of motion and other symptoms. May delay or eliminate the need for an artificial joint

Cons:. “The jury is still out as to whether [arthroscopy] can actually stop the further deterioration of the joint,” says Mathias P. Bostrom, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. “Right now, there are no long-term studies to support that idea.”

Joint Resurfacing

What is it? In the knee, this may also be called unicompartmental or partial knee replacement. In this procedure, surgeons replace with an implant only one of the three compartments of the knee, the medial (inside), lateral (outside) or patellofemoral (front) compartment. In the hip, surgeons replace the hip socket with a metal cup, and the damaged hip ball is reshaped and capped with a metal, dome-shaped prosthesis.

Best candidates: For the knee, older, less active patients with arthritis in only one knee compartment. For hips, men younger than 60, especially athletes or those with physically demanding jobs.

Pros: In the knee, this procedure can relieve pain and improve function with daily activities. In the hip, it may increase the ability to participate in high-impact sports and activities that require flexibility, such as martial arts and yoga. Conserving the thighbone may make future hip surgery easier.

Cons: Higher complication rate than conventional implants, and the metal-on-metal hip system poses the same risks as other all-metal hip replacement systems. It’s not recommended for people with osteoporosis, kidney disease or diabetes.

Osteotomy

What is it? The procedure involves cutting and removing bone or adding a wedge of bone near a damaged joint. In the knee, for example, an osteotomy shifts weight from an area damaged by arthritis to an undamaged area. In the hip it is often used to correct misalignment (hip dysplasia) that occurs early in life.

Best candidates: Patients in their 30s and younger or who are too young for total joint replacement.

Pros: Can halt damage and delay the need for a joint replacement.

Cons: Osteotomies are not simple, warns Robert L. Barrack, MD, chief of staff for orthopaedic surgery at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. “Because the surgery is so complex and highly specialized, only a small percentage of surgeons are best suited to perform it.”

Synovectomy

What is it? In people with inflammatory arthritis, the lining of the joints – the synovium – can become inflamed or grow too much, damaging surrounding cartilage and joints.In this procedure surgeons remove most or all of the affected synovium, either in a traditional, open surgery or by using arthroscopy.

Best candidates: People with limited cartilage damage in the affected area who have tried anti-inflammatory medications, but who continue to have inflammation or overgrowth of the synovium around the knee, elbow, wrist, fingers or hips.

Pros: Relieves pain and improves function, and people who have had the procedure may be able to reduce their dosage of anti-inflammatory drugs.  

Cons: The procedure may limit range of motion and provide only temporary relief of symptoms.

Arthrodesis, or Fusion

What is it? In this procedure surgeons use pins, plates, rods or other hardware to join two or more bones in the ankles, wrists, thumbs, fingers or spine, making one continuous joint. Over time the bones grow together and lock the joint in place.  

Best candidates: People with severe joint damage from OA or inflammatory arthritis.

Pros: This procedure is very durable, and results should last a lifetime.People who have weight-bearing joints fused can often take part safely in high-impact physical activity.

Cons: Fusing joints eliminates their motion and reduces flexibility. It also changes the joint’s normal biomechanics, which can put stress on surrounding joints and lead to the development of arthritis in other areas.

Total Joint Replacement (TJR), or Total Joint Arthroplasty

What is it? The damaged joint is replaced with an implant that mimics the motion the natural joint and is made from combinations of metal, plastic and/or ceramic components.

Best candidates: People with severe joint pain who haven’t been helped by other treatments. Improvement in implant durability means that TJR is more common in younger people than in the past.

Pros: Strong, proven track record for safety and success; reduces pain and improves mobility, daily functioning and quality of life.

Cons: All artificial joints can wear out, which may require joint revision surgery. Implants made entirely of metal (called metal-on-metal) can release metal ions that may damage bone and cause other health problems. Ask before surgery about an implant’s track record. TJR is not usually recommended for people who have weak bones or who are obese.

Minimally Invasive TJR

What is it? This technique replaces a damaged joint, but uses shorter incisions than in a traditional TJR. Less muscle is cut and reattached.

Best candidates: Active normal-weight people younger than 50 years.

Pros: Less pain, less time in the hospital and quicker recovery than with conventional joint replacement.

Cons: These procedures are difficult and have higher complication rates than traditional TJR, according to Dr. Barrack. Look for an orthopaedic surgeon who does a high volume of these procedures.

Joint Revision

What is it? Surgery to remove a failed, infected or worn-out implant and replace it with a new one.

Best candidates: People with a damaged artificial joint. Implants can last 20 years or longer, but those who get them as young adults may eventually need a revision.

Pros: Pain relief and improved mobility, strength and coordination.

Cons: Because of the alterations surgeons make to bones during an original joint replacement, revision procedures are more complex and less successful than initial replacement surgeries. Sometimes surgeons need to take a bone graft from another area to complete the operation. Possible complications include a higher fracture risk after surgery, and in the hip, twice the risk of dislocation and uneven leg lengths.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

Kid's Sports Injuries: The Numbers are Impressive

Kid’s Sports Injuries: The Numbers are Impressive

Article Featured on Nationwide Children

The Numbers Are Impressive

The picture of youth sports in America is changing. Youth athletes often begin their competitive sports careers as early as age seven, with some youth participating in organized sports activities as early as age four, if not sooner. With an estimated 25 million scholastic, and another 20 million organized community-based youth programs in the United States, the opportunity for injury is enormous.

This is why sports injuries are the second leading cause of emergency room visits for children and adolescents, and the second leading cause of injuries in school. Approximately three million youth are seen in hospital emergency rooms for sports-related injuries and another five million youth are seen by their primary care physician or a sports medicine clinic for injuries. These numbers leave out the injuries not seen by a physician.

What Does This Mean?

Physical activity is necessary for normal growth in children. However, when the activity level becomes too intense or too excessive in a short time period, tissue breakdown and injury can occur. These overuse injuries were frequently seen in adult recreational athletes, but are now being seen in children. The single biggest factor contributing to the dramatic increase in overuse injuries in young athletes is the focus on more intense, repetitive and specialized training at much younger ages.

Overuse injuries such as stress fractures, tendinitis, bursitis, apophysitis and osteochondral injuries of the joint surface were rarely seen when children spent more time engaging in free play. The following risk factors predispose young athletes to overuse injuries:

  1. Sport specialization at a young age
  2. Imbalance of strength or joint range of motion
  3. Anatomic malalignment
  4. Improper footwear
  5. Pre-existing condition
  6. Growth cartilage less resistant to repetitive microtrauma
  7. Intense, repetitive training during periods of growth

What Should Be Done?

Early recognition and treatment of injuries is critical in returning athletes to their sport safely and quickly. Any injury that involves obvious swelling, deformity, and/or loss of normal function (i.e. movement or strength) should be seen by a physician immediately. All other injuries that appear to be minor should resolve themselves within a few days. However, if it does not heal on it’s own, and your child is not back to full participation without pain, it is best to have him/her evaluated by a physician. Nagging injuries that go untreated can turn into chronic problems that require a much longer time away from the sport to allow the injury to heal properly.

If your child does get injured while playing sports, the best treatment plan is R.I.C.E:

Rest

  • Do not use the injured area until seen for further evaluation by a physician
  • If walking with a limp, have the athlete use crutches

Ice

  • Apply ice to the injured area to help decrease pain and swelling
  • Use ice 15 – 20 minutes at a time
  • Crushed/cubed ice or frozen peas/corn works best, avoid using chemical cold packs
  • Always ice for the first 48 – 72 hours after injury
  • Never sleep with ice on the injured area

Compression

  • Elastic wrap/compression sock should be used to reduce swelling
  • Apply wrap beginning below the injured area and wrapping upward
  • Always leave toes/fingers exposed
  • Watch for numbness, discoloration or temperature changes (loosen wrap if needed)
  • Do not sleep with wrap on the injured area

Elevation

  • Use gravity to control swelling
  • Prop injured area higher than the heart

New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopaedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopaedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopaedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.