What is Naviculocuneiform Joint Fusion?

As you age and grow older, there is a tendency for arthritis to settle in to your joints of your body. This can make it difficult to do everyday tasks such as walking, lifting items or using your hands. While there are various treatment options for this problem, some of the areas that arthritis attacks need a little more attention. If you are having problems in the joints of your foot, naviculocuneiform joint fusion may be what you’re needing.

What is Naviculocuneiform Arthrodesis or Joint Fusion?

Basically, this is where the naviculocuneiform joint of your foot has had arthritis settle in and caused the bones of the joint to start rubbing together. The joint itself consists of four different bones and it is in the middle of the foot. When this sets in, it makes it hard to bear weight on the foot, walk like you normally would, and can also cause a problem called drop foot if it has gotten severe. This problem is typically caused by having a trauma to that region of your foot.

What the joint fusion will do is help to relieve the pain that you’re dealing with in that area of the foot. The procedure itself will fuse your joints together with pins and screws to hold the joint in place as it should be. This will help to alleviate the pain and problems that you’re currently having due to the joint cartilage wearing away.

What to Expect

This procedure is an outpatient procedure and you’re generally back home by the end of the day. You’ll be administered general anesthesia and possibly a nerve block in your foot and ankle to help with pain control after the procedure. A small incision is made on the inside of your foot where the doctor can access the joint area. The pins and hardware are then put in place and you’ll be ready to go shortly after you wake up.

You’ll receive a cushioned splint to wear for the following days after surgery. Typically, you’ll spend around two weeks with your foot elevated to help reduce the swelling that can occur after the procedure. When you go back for your two-week checkup, the doctor typically removes stiches or staples and you’re placed in a boot where you’ll remain non-weight bearing for around four to six more weeks.

After your six to eight-week checkup, you’ll come out of the cast and slowly return to normal use of the foot. You may have x-rays performed as well to make sure your foot is healing properly. Range of motion should not be affected after surgery and with a little time you’ll be back to normal.

3 Causes for Finger Joint Pain and Treatments

Whether you work in manual labor all day or you’re at an office job, your fingers and hands are quite busy. Daily tasks can become difficult to do if you’re suffering from finger joint pain or finger pain. Learning the most common causes for finger pain and the treatment options available can help you to live life to the fullest again, without the pain in your hands or fingers. Here are a few common causes of pain in the joints of your fingers.

Injury

Perhaps you may not have even realized you injured your hand or fingers and this is the cause of your pain. Other times you know when you did it and can pinpoint what caused the finger pain. Either way an injury can cause pain in the joints and fingers of the hand making it difficult to use that appendage until it’s healed.

Arthritis

There are several types of arthritis that can cause finger joint pain. RA, or rheumatoid arthritis, causes inflammation in the joints and can cause knots and growths on the fingers. It can also cause them to twist and cause more pain. Arthritis can come along with age or it can come along due to genetics. Osteoarthritis is another form that can affect the hands and fingers.

Other Causes

Another common source of finger pain is an infection from a cut or scrape. If you do not take care of the injury when it happens, you can end up with a painful infection. You could also develop neuropathy if you suffer from uncontrolled diabetes or have had diabetes for a very long time. This can cause numbness and pain in the appendages.

One other common cause of finger joint pain is carpal tunnel syndrome. It may start out as numbness and tingling but can progress to more painful problems if not taken care of.

Treatment Options

For pain in the fingers and joints you can take over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the inflammation causing the pain. If your finger is broken or injured the doctor may put a brace on the finger so that you can reduce the movement giving it time to heal. For other symptoms such as carpal tunnel you may also find a brace to steady the wrist and hands can help to alleviate the symptoms.

For those suffering with arthritis, you may find that your doctor can prescribe you something to help with the symptoms and to reduce the pain. Finger joint pain can be caused by a variety of ailments and it’s important to pinpoint where your pain is coming from.

Symptoms And Treatments For Osteoarthritis Of The Big Toe

Osteoarthritis is a form of degenerative arthritis that causes pain and swelling in joints. Due to the wear and tear of cartilage in the joint, the bones become more prominent and as a result, rub against each other as they move. While the condition occurs gradually, it worsens over time if left untreated. The big toe is a common area to be affected by osteoarthritis.

Causes

Most cases of osteoarthritis come with age, starting from ages 30 to 60. As the body system slows down, the cartilage deteriorates faster than it can heal, resulting in osteoarthritis to develop.

Obesity also increases the risk of developing the condition. With additional pressure from the body weight, the bones of the feet are stressed and may accelerate the damage of cartilage in the big toe.

Some people are born with an overgrowth of the big toe bone, making the toe joint stiff and difficult to bend, thus more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis.

Symptoms

Some of the first signs of osteoarthritis of the big toe include stiffness, achiness, tenderness and pain in the affected toe, though may also be felt in the arch of the foot and other toes. The toe feels most achy and stiff in the morning and after sitting for a long period of time.

Gradually, you would start to notice swelling around the joint. It might be some time before the bone spur becomes visibly noticeable. However, you would feel the bones rubbing together and causing the area to swell as they get more prominent.

As the big toe gets stiffer, it gets harder to bend the toes. Walking and balancing becomes difficult and painful. The constant rubbing between the toes can cause corns and calluses to form, and even leading to other conditions such as hammer toes.

Treatment

Conservative treatment for osteoarthritis may not cure the condition but can relief the symptoms. Your doctor might prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicine to ease the pain and bring down the swelling. There are also creams and gels to reduce the swelling. Orthoses can be inserted in your shoes to decrease the pressure while walking. It is best to avoid high heels and pointy-toed shoes as these shoes give puts stress on the feet and may aggravate the symptoms.

For very severe cases, your doctor might recommend a joint replacement surgery. The damaged cartilage is removed and the joint is held together in a fixed and immovable position so that the cartilage would not be affected again. However, the results of the surgery might cause a reduction in mobility. Thus, this procedure may only be suitable for elderly patients that do not require as much mobility in daily activities.

Arthritis of the Thumb: Symptoms & Treatment

Arthritis is a degenerative medical condition that affects and destroy a joint. There are different types of arthritis but the most common one is that affecting the basal joint and osteoarthritis. Thumb arthritis occurs when the cartilage is removed due to prolonged wear and tear from the thumb joint. It can result in severe pain in the hands, swelling and the inability to perform simple daily actions such as turning a doorknob.

Studies have also shown that thumb arthritis is more common in women than men, especially for ladies over 40 years old. In fact, women above the age of 75 are twice more prone to thumb arthritis than men of the same age.

Symptoms

The first symptom that will occur is pain. Pain will start from the base of the thumb when attempting to use it during actions such as clenching a fit. Simply put, any actions that requires the thumb to apply a force will result in pain. Very soon after, pain will be experienced even when the thumb is not in use. This would then signify an increase in the seriousness of thumb arthritis. Other symptoms may also be experienced by patients and they include:

  • Swelling and stiffness at the base of thumb
  • Loss of strength while trying to grip an object
  • Decrease in range of motion of thumb
  • Awkward finger position towards the base area

Causes

Thumb arthritis are usually the result of a direct or indirect trauma to the joint. The basal joint is designed to provide the thumb a wide range of motion, allowing us to perform a myriad of tasks. It is also with this range of motion that causes instability to it. Cartilage acts as a cushion to support the metacarpal bone and trapezium bone. Due to prolonged usage of the thumb joint, the cartilage wears off and the bones are no longer able to glide smoothly over each other. This will result in friction and the eventual damage of the finger joint.

The damaged joint will respond by growing new bones known as bone spurs. These bone spurs will cause the side of the thumb to have visible lumps. Eventually, the thumb metacarpal will start to slide out of the saddle.

Patients with less severe thumb arthritis will respond well to non-surgical treatment whereas those with severe arthritis will need surgical reconstruction to improve thumb function. An early diagnosis is critical to prevent thumb arthritis from deteriorating.

Arthritis of the Hand: Symptoms & Treatment

Arthritis is the generic name for inflammation in the joints. It can take many different form and the most common one is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the medical condition when the protective cushioning known as the cartilage is worn out due to wear and tear. It usually happens in areas such as the hand. In this article, we will look at some of the symptoms and treatment for hand arthritis.

Pain

Pain is the most straightforward symptom for any kind of medical conditions. In the initial stages of hand arthritis, the surrounding area will start to have a burning sensation especially after periods of long usage. This pain can be immediate or delayed. As wear and tear of the cartilage continue to take place, the pain will start to be more intense and the frequency increases. After long periods of rest such as after waking up in the morning, the pain can be quite unbearable and the ability to sense changes in weather also appears. Simple activities such as carrying a grocery bag or opening a can be difficult to accomplish.

Crepitation

After some time, there will be sensations of crepitation. This is due to the damaged cartilage rubbing against each other to create a grinding effect. If the hand arthritis affects the hand ligaments, the ligaments and tendons may start to become loose, creating a sense of instability.

Swelling

Swelling occurs due to an excess of body fluid accumulated in the hand. This is due to the body’s natural defence mechanism sensing that something is wrong. As a result, the white blood cells start to destroy the damaged cartilage, secreting a lot of fluid as a result. This will result in pain and tenderness in the hand.

 

Treatment is classified into non-surgical and surgical methods. In non-surgical treatment, the doctor will prescribe medication to stop the inflammation such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These medication can only treat the symptom but cannot repair the damaged cartilage. To counter this, glucosamine and chondroitin may also be prescribed as supplements.

If non-surgical treatment fails to produce good results, surgery will be necessary. The most common form of surgery is finger joint replacement. The replacement materials are biocompatiable and possesses weightbearing capabilities such as ceramics. This will help to restore function to the hand and improve the quality of life.

Cartilage do not self-regenerate and this is why joint replacement is the most viable option up to date.

Shoulder Joint Tear (Glenoid Labrum Tear): Symptoms & Prevention

The shoulder joint is composed of three different types of bones: the shoulder blade, upper arm bone and collarbone. This type of joint is a ball and socket joint, allowing for extreme flexibility and wide range of motion. The upper arm bone acts like a ball and is securely inside the shoulder blade socket. For stabilization purposes, the upper arm bone is slightly larger than the socket, ensuring that the fit is tight. To further enhance the stability, there is a layer of soft tissue called the labrum. Injuries to the labrum is the cause of a shoulder joint tear. In this article, we will look at some of the symptoms and preventive measures.

Symptoms of Glenoid Labrum tears are difficult to be diagnosed. The pain is unable to be localized to the exact location and pain is severely increased when actions involving the injured shoulder is attempted. Such actions can include stretching the arm or raising a hand. As time passes, the shoulder will be weaker and instability will start to set in.

Shoulder joint tears are often caused by a sudden trauma to the shoulder blade. These can include falling on an outstretched arm or a direct blow to the shoulder. In order to prevent this, protective measures should be taken:

Warm-ups and stretching

Have you ever taken a rubber band and pulled it suddenly? The rubber band will end up breaking immediately. This is the same for our muscles and it is the reason why warm ups and stretching are extremely important. Warming up will loosen the muscles and enable the tendons and ligaments to stretch. This will allow them to function properly and hold the shoulder joint together.

Protective gears

Shoulder joint tears are also much more common in players engaging in high impact sports such as rugby and baseball. Players often wear protective paddings designed for the shoulder. These cushioning pads are able to cushion and absorb shocks to a certain extent. Some are even able to prevent fractures and dislocations.

Build strong muscles

Building up strength in the shoulders will increase the ability of tendons, ligaments and muscles to withstand the impact experienced by the shoulder. Strong muscles will hold the shoulder together and prevent any muscular tears during an impact.

Shoulder joint tears are extremely painful and affects our daily lifestyle. Players who participate in high impact or repetitive sports shoulder consider investing in good protective gears and ensure that proper warm ups are performed prior to the start of their activity.

Hammer Toe: Symptoms & Treatments

Hammer toes are a common deformity in the toe due to factors such as poor blood circulation or medical conditions such as diabetes. A hammer toe may occur on any of the toes but they are most common in the three middle toes, causing them to be bent. In some patients, this deformity is present upon birth but for others, it can develop over time due to arthritis or wearing shoes that are restrictive.

Causes

The main reason why a hammertoe is formed is largely due to the mechanism of the toe muscles. The muscles work together in pair and when the balance fails, the result is the formation of a hammertoe. This imbalance in muscles will exert a lot of pressure and force on the tendons and joints, causing the toe to bend. Some factors that causes imbalance include the genes passed down by your parents. Patients who suffer from flat foot have an unstable arched feet and this will accelerate this condition.

Symptoms

Patients who are suffering from hammertoe will have the middle joint of the affected toe bent. The end of the bent toe will look like a claw. Initially, the toe can be straightened if you apply some force on it. However as time passes, you will be unable to extend it anymore. Any attempt to do so will only result in tremendous pain. At the top of the toe, a corn may be formed and a callus will be formed likewise at the sole of the foot. Simple actions such as walking and even wearing covered shoes will be a difficult task to accomplish.

Treatment

As the saying goes, the earlier you diagnose and treat it, the easier it is. In young kids or mild cases, splinting the affected toe can easily treat hammertoe. Kids should be encouraged to wear wide toe shoes to provide the extra space to wriggle the toes. Wearing shoes that offer a slight extra bit of space will also help to allow the toe to straighten itself. During this stage, ladies should avoid wearing high heel shoes, as this will exert even more pressure on the toes.

In serious cases, surgery will be required to straighten the joint. The surgery will include cutting and moving soft tissues such as the tendons and ligaments as well as fusing the bones together. Usually, it is a day surgery and you may notice your toe becoming shorter after surgery since the bones are fused together.

Ligament Tear: Symptoms & Treatments

Our knee is supported by 4 main ligaments – anterior ruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). Each of the ligament plays a different role in ensuring the stability of the knee. However, due to various reasons, the ligaments can be torn. Rupture of the ligament can be a partial one or a full one and this will affect the treatment administered. A ligament tear will also bring about instability in the knee and the inability for it to bear weight, causing problems when walking. In this article, we will look at some of the symptoms and treatments for ligament tears.

The role of each ligament differs:

The role of the ACL is to stabilise the knee joint by restriciting forward back backwards movement of the knee. It is designed to prevent the tibia bone from moving in front of the femur. The role of the MCL is to protect the knee against any sudden and/or unwanted forces that is directed at the side of the knee. It restricts the sideway movement of the knee. The LCL works in conjunction with the MCL to restrict sideway movement and it protects against sudden forces that is directed at the inside of the knee. Lastly, the PCL works together with the ACL to control forward and backward movements of the knee.

An injured ligament will bring about symtoms that are similar to each other:

·As a general rule of thumb, a partially torn ligament will not bring about a pop sound while a fully ruptured one will produce a pop sound. A fully torn one will also create instant instability and the knee will give way.

·Swelling will occur and the injured knee may start to turn purple due to the lack of proper blood flow to the area. Swelling occurs due to a build up of blood from the injured ligament.

·The knee will be unable to function properly and you may feel that you are unable to control it.

·Tenderness will onset when you touch the knee.

The first step in treatment is to pay the PRICE:

·Protect the knee from further movements

·Resting the knee immediately following injury for at least 48 hours. If you need to move around, consider using crutches or walkers to prevent bearing weight on the injured knee.

·Ice will bring down swelling and reduce inflammation. Always try to ice the area every hour by using a cold compress or simply by wrapping knee in a towel and applying it locally.

·Compress the knee with a bandage to reduce swelling and prevent excessive movements.

·Elevate the knee to above your heart level to reduce swelling. This will cause excessive blood to flow away due to gravity towards your heart.

Symptoms And Treatments For Osteoarthritis Of The Hip

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that affects any joint in the body. One of the most common places is the hip due to the tremendous amount of stress and workload it faces day in day out. As we age, the cartilage in our joint will start to lessen due to wear and tear. You can simply imagine the cartilage to be a soft cushion located in between the joints and its main function is to absorb any shock experienced by that particular joint. Without this cushion, there will be a direct bone-to-bone interaction. When this occurs, pain and tenderness will kick in. There will be restricted mobility in that joint due to severe pain and simple daily activities can be difficult. Let’s look at some symptoms and treatments for hip osteoarthritis below.

Symptoms

The very first symptom one will experience is the discomfort at the hip joint. This pain is amplified after periods of inactivity such as sitting down for long periods or waking up from a sleep in the morning. When you start to work out the hip through activities such as walking or jogging, the pain is also increased tremendously. There may be also a cracking sound and feel experienced when you are using the hip.

Non-surgical treatment

The very first form of treatment a doctor will administer is medication to help manage the pain. It can come in either an oral or injection form. Some of the common oral medications are ibuprofen, naproxen and acetaminophen. These are usually strong enough to help control the pain adequately. However in serious cases, corticosteroid drugs may need to be injected directly into the hip for an immediate reduction in pain and swelling.

Surgical treatment

In serious cases where the pain persists despite medication treatment, a surgical treatment may be considered. The most common type is a total hip replacement surgery. The damaged bone and cartilage are removed entirely and replaced with man-made ones. The femoral head will be removed and a metallic stem will be placed into the hollow center of the femur. A ceramic ball will be placed at the upper stem and it acts as a replacement for the femoral head. Ceramics are preferred as they are much more biocompatible than metals. The worn out cartilage will also be removed and screws will be used to hold the socket in place. In order to provide a smooth surface, a ceramic spacer will be inserted to reduce coefficient of friction between the two surfaces.

Hip Surgery For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is not a selective disease. This indicates that RA can occur in any joint in the body, destroying it and causing pain and bringing disability to the patient. RA usually attack joints that are located in the upper groin region but is not limited to that only. In the initial stages, any form of strenuous activities such as jogging, running or even carrying a heavy object can aggravate the pain. As it slowly progresses, it will start to affect the quality of sleep and lead to patients being disorientated. Hip surgery is one of the most effective treatment methods of RA and we will look into it in this article.

Total hip replacement (THR) is the most common form of surgical treatment for RA with the other being hip resurfacing. In THR, there are three different components for the implant; the stem, ball and socket. The stem will fit itself into the femur while the ball will replace the spherical head of the femur and finally the cup will replace the worn out hip socket. The materials used for the implant have specifically been chosen for the biocompatibility properties. This means that they will not react with the body fluids and chemicals and ultimately causing an undesired immune response from the host body. The materials are also resistant to corrosion and are long-lasting in the region of a decade or more. The mechanical properties are as good as or even better than the natural components of the hip.

THR will be performed in a sterile operating theatre that is free of bacteria in order to prevent infection. Patients will be given a general anesthesia jab, which will cause them to fall asleep throughout the surgery. An incision will be made along the side of the hips and can be as long as 25cm. However, this incision will not be visible as the clothes will be able to cover it decently. The diseased joint will be removed with a surgical saw and the bone will be cleaned and prep for the arrival of the new prosthesis. There will be proper drainage systems to remove blood from the region and when everything is over, sutures will be used to close up the incision.

As with all forms of surgery, there are risks involved. There will always be a slight chance of the formation of a blood clot and infection despite sterilizing the operating theatre.