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.

Possible Benefits Of Total Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty

Total hip resurfacing arthroplasty is a surgical procedure with the intention of restoring the function of a hip for a patient suffering from degenerative joint diseases. Some of the common degenerative joint diseases include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic arthritis to name a few. It is one of the few surgical techniques that can help patients lead an active lifestyle, with the next common one being hip replacement surgery. In recent years, there has been an increase in interest with regards to hip resurfacing. This is largely due to the fact that the bone will be preserved in this case unlike traditional hip replacement, which requires the removal of the hip joint and replaced with an artificial one. In this article, we will discuss about some of the possible benefits of total hip resurfacing arthroplasty over other techniques.

Future proof

Unlike traditional hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing is much more future proof. Both hip replacement and hip resurfacing uses a man-made component, which will eventually wear out over time. The implant is designed to last between 10 to 20 years before failure. Once failure occurs, a surgery will be performed to remove the failed component and replaced with a brand new one. In a hip replacement surgery, the bone is removed from the femur and revision surgery will be made more difficult. Instead, hip resurfacing does not remove the bone from the femur. Therefore, replacement of the implants is much more simpler, effectively future-proofing it.

Less risk of dislocation

The hip joint is essentially a ball and socket joint, which allows a wide range of motion. In a hip resurfacing surgery, the replacement ball is much bigger than the one used in hip replacement with dimensions closed to the original one. Since it provides a tighter fit, it is much more difficult to fall out of the joint. Thus, dislocation risks are restricted.

Increased range of motion

Patients who choose hip resurfacing over hip replacement tend to enjoy an increased range of motion. This is due to the fact that bone was not removed from the body and the ball and socket joint is fitted better.

Natural walking stance

Patients who had undergone hip resurfacing will be able to walk more naturally compared to patients who did hip replacement. There will be minimal limping and the hip is able to perform close to what it could previously.

Recovery from a total hip resurfacing surgery will take roughly 6 weeks. Throughout this period, physical therapy will be required to prevent scarring and regain the strength and range of motion.

Causes And Symptoms Of Sprained Thumb

A sprain thumb is a common injury that is characterized by the tearing of soft connective tissues such as the ligaments and cartilage in the joint of the thumb. Another common term is “Skier’s Thumb” and the sport that has the highest prevalence is as you have guessed, skiing. Sprained thumbs will lead to swelling and tenderness in the finger and will happen to anyone who may unfortunately experienced one of the causes mentioned below in this article.

There are 2 small bones in the thumb known as the phalanges. They join each other at the Interphalangael Joint and to the 1st metacarpal, forming 2 joints in the thumb. Each of the thumbs is in turn supported by strong connective tissues, which acts as a cushion when there is an impact force exerted. During movements such as stretching or compressing, the thumb is subjected to high forces, which may damage the connective tissues, causing them to sustain damages. This will result in the condition known as a sprained thumb.

Causes of a sprained thumb

There are numerous causes of sprained thumbs but the most common ones are during a high impact ball sports such as basketball and netball. Certain incidents will increase the risk such as the unexpected bending either forward or backwards of the thumb. Sprained thumbs can also happen due to collisions with another player at high speeds or while trying to cushion a fall with the hand. It may also occur due to overuse injuries. This will happen in people who repeatedly use the thumb for certain activities without giving sufficient recovery time to it.

Symptoms of a sprained thumb

Patients who have a sprained thumb will often go unnoticed. However, they will experience sudden sharp pain attacks during activities even after it has passed and at random intervals. Some may also suffer from stiff fingers when they wake up in the morning or after a period of rest due to the lack of mobility and movement. The pain will be mostly at the sides and top of the affected finger. In some cases, there will be a pop sound heard immediately after an injury indicating a high likelihood of a sprained thumb. Swelling and bruising will occur as fast as minutes after the injury and simple daily tasks such as tying of shoelaces or even opening a bottled drink can be near impossible.

A sprained thumb should not be ignored and should be treated immediately as it involves the connective tissues such as the ligaments. If left untreated, it may lead to long term instability of the finger joint and arthritis.

Symptoms And Treatments For Boutonnière Deformity

Boutonnière Deformity is a medical condition that affects the finger. It is due to an injury to the tendons in the finger that is responsible for the flexing and straightening. If this injury is left untreated, it may result in serious complications and the possibility of permanent deformity.

There are a few tendons in our fingers working hand in hand to help us perform flexion and extension. These tendons are located at the side and top of the finger. Boutonnière Deformity affects the tendon that is attached to the middle bone. When other tendons are injured, you will feel pain but bending can still be performed. However in this case, bending and flexing cannot be performed completely.

Symptoms

Symptoms are usually quite straightforward. Patients will feel pain around the finger region and swelling will be present. The finger will not be able to straighten fully on its own but it is able to with external help. However, this forced straightening action will result in an imbalance, causing the finger to arch upwards.

Treatment

Non-surgical

Non-surgical treatment is intended for cases whereby the injury was caused by a simple tear of the tendon. This kind of injury is not very serious and splinting is usually sufficient and the bone will heal on its own. The patient will be required to perform intensive physical therapy throughout the period to prevent stiffness in the finger joint. The choice of finger splint can be divided into the homemade type or the special types that can be bought from hospitals. Non-surgical treatment is also the preferred treatment method that most surgeons will consider prior to suggesting surgery. This is due to the need for the contracture to be stretched further before the extensor hood can be repaired through surgical means.

Surgical

Surgical will be required for cases that are much more serious. Surgery can only take place when the finger joint is in an extended position instead of the arc position and this is why non-surgical treatments will be prescribed initially to allow the finger to extend fully.

Joint fixation

If the injury was caused due to a dislocation of the joint, a joint fixation surgery will need to be carried out. A metallic pin will be used to fix the joint in place. Following surgery, a finger splint will need to be worn in order to protect the joint.

Fusion

Fusion will be the best treatment possible when previous treatment methods fail to fully heal it. Fusion is a procedure that joins 2 of the joint surfaces of the finger together, preventing them from moving. This will help to reduce pain and provide stability to the finger joint.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Symptoms and Treatment

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is a condition arising from an abnormal immune response from the body. In this unusual scenario, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy joint tissues, causing the joint lining to get inflamed. This inflammation will result in pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of the joint. The pain associated with RA is not constant throughout. There are sudden spikes in the pain level followed by periods of normality. RA can happen in different types of joints as well as important organs such as the lungs and the heart. Let’s look at some of the symptoms and treatments for RA.

The role of the joints in our body is to provide unparalleled flexibility and freedom of movement. In-between the cartilage of the bones, there exist a thick fluid known as the synovial fluid. This is responsible for providing non-stop lubrication to the joints in order to provide a smooth and unhindered movement. In patients suffering from RA, the antibodies are against this synovium where the synovial fluid is stored.

RA is also a chronic disease which effectively means that it is long lasting. As with all lasting diseases, the extent of seriousness is often not well known. Some people may experience frequent flare-ups while some may not. Below are some of the most common symptoms of RA:

  • Experiencing pain for more than an hour following prolonged periods at rest such as upon waking up in the morning
  • Joint inflammation in knee, elbow, ankle, wrist and fingers
  • Feverish feelings followed by lethargicness
  • Growth of small lumps of tissues under the skin

Currently, there is no cure for RA. However, there is a wide range of medication aim at helping to reduce the symptoms associated with it and slow down the progress. Due to the intrinsic nature of our body, there is no “one medication fits all” pill out there. The main role of the medication is for remission, which means to effectively control it in a way that it appears to be gone. A specialist doctor will alter the drug composition during the follow up sessions.

Rheumatoid Arthritis can range from a mild case to a severe case requirement surgery. Due to its complex nature, it is not easy to predict the expected outlook of the patient. A variety of medication will be administered in an attempt to find the best through trial and error. In order to reduce the chances of contracting RA, a healthy lifestyle seems to be an effective method.

Recovering From Total Joint Replacement

Immediately after your total joint replacement surgery, you will be moved into a recovery room to be monitored for a couple of hours. After the anaesthesia has worn off and you are awake, you will then be moved to your ward where you will stay for the next few days. A typical stay in the hospital will be between 3 to 5 days depending on your progress. Before the effects of the anaesthesia have fully worn off, you should consume pain killers to prevent a sudden onset of unbearable pain. So how do you recover from total joint replacement surgery?

Physical therapy

Muscle atrophy is the result of depriving muscles activities, leading to muscle wastage. This can happen after a couple of days post surgery, leading to shrinking of muscles and muscular apoptosis. In order to prevent this, physical therapy will be required. Physical therapy helps to strengthen the hip joints through various small but effective exercises. It usually begins almost immediately after surgery in order to prevent scar tissues from forming. A physical therapist will be there to teach you some basic exercises to help you regain strength and full hip movement in the shortest time. It continues even when you have been discharged, and you will be required to show up for your physical therapy classes up to 4 times a week.

Understand possible medical complications

Hip replacement surgery has a low risk and infections are at a low rate of 2%. However, this does not mean that you are completely clear of any complications. Blood clots in the leg veins can occur due to prolonged immobility, leading to serious consequences if they travel up to the heart or brain. Therefore, some surgeons will recommend the usage of compressive stockings.

Do not be complacent

As time passes, the hip will be stronger and the usage of walking aids such as crutches or walkers will no longer be required. Some patients will tend to get complacent and start to skip physical therapy sessions or ignore symptoms which may indicate infection. Therefore, always be mindful of your responsibilities as a patient and continue your physical therapy sessions until your therapist has given you the all clear.

Your new hip will be able to last you for at least a decade and provide you with freedom you never imagined. However, you still need to know that it is an artificial joint inside you and materials can fail due to various reasons and a second surgery may be required in future.

4 Most Common Injuries Incurred in Soccer

Soccer is a high impact sport that is rather safe due to the protective equipment mandated during play. However, injuries still do occur to players and some of them can take up to a year to recover. Soccer is a fast paced game that requires frequent change of directions, sudden stops and twisting actions. Incorrect placement of the feet can cause ligaments to tear when attempting to change direction. Let’s discuss about the most common injuries incurred in soccer.

Muscular strains

Muscular strains are due to the over pulling of a certain muscle or the over contraction of a stiff muscle when it has not fully warmed up. Warm ups and cool downs are extremely important tools to help prepare your muscles for the things that are about to come. Muscle groups that are frequently utilised are the most prone to strains. These include the thigh muscles, quadriceps muscles and hamstring muscles.

Muscular sprains

Muscular sprains on the other hand involve injuries relating to connective tissues such as the ligament. The role of the ligament is to provide stability to the lower body. As mentioned above, soccer requires frequently change of direction and sudden stops. If the playing surface is poor, the risk of injuries is significantly raised. A sudden change in direction with one of the foot firmly planted in the ground will result in a ligament tear, possibly accompanied by injuries to the meniscus as well. Proper warm up prior to the game can help to reduce the risk slightly but this is not significant.

Head injuries

Soccer is an all rounded game that involves the use of various parts of the body, including the head. Although not allowed, some players still tend to raise their foot high while challenging for the ball. If you are using your head to head the ball and a high foot with metal studs is coming towards you, chances are that you will be at the suffering end! Another scenario would be an attempt on goal with a header, only to be thwarted by the goalkeeper’s punch, resulting in head injuries. Minor ones would be some laceration while serious ones can lead to a possible concussion.

Fractures

The part of the body used most in the game is the lower body and thus, the risks of fractures are higher with these body parts. Challenging for the ball and a strong desire to win can lead to undesired effects. Remember in 2002 where David Beckham almost missed the World Cup due to a metatarsal fracture?

Soccer is a high impact game that is on the same level as basketball and rugby but with a much lower injury risk due to the strict rules. However, this does not mean that you have a low chance of injury as the saying goes, the ball is round. Winning is important but not at the expense of yourself.

Symptoms of Arthritis

The signs and symptoms of arthritis are misleading. They are similar to normal injuries and people tend to ignore them, thinking that it will go away on its own after some time. However, it is important to identify the symptoms early and start treatment fast. Once arthritis gets serious, it can cause a severe impact on how you lead your life. Stiffness accompanied with swelling and pains in the joints are onset symptoms of arthritis. This is especially amplified after long durations of inactivity such as waking up in the morning. What are other symptoms of arthritis? Let’s talk about them below.

Joint Pain

Arthritis causes abnormal amounts of water and fluid to build up, causing swelling of joints. The excess fluids will interrupt the balance in the soft tissues, causing the immune system to attack it and cause pain and tenderness.

Inflammation

The immune system of a patient suffering from arthritis is in a confused state and it will mistakenly attack the healthy tissues, causing chronic pain and inflammation. Not only will the tissue alone be affected, the surrounding healthy tissues will all fall prey to attacks as well.

Stiffness

Stiffness occurs due to a 3 part process that happens during arthritis. Firstly, the joint lining gets inflamed due to the reasons mentioned above. This will cause the joints to have limited ability to function properly. Secondly, growth of cells and cell division causes the Synovial membrane to thicken. The inflamed cells will also secrete enzymes that aids in the digestion of bones and soft tissues such as the cartilage.

Loss in range of motion

Arthritis suffers will lose their full range of motion. The ability to move and fully utilise a joint is severely depleted. Therefore, exercises that help to regain range of motion should be performed frequently.

Numbness

Numbness indicates the involvement of nerves and this can lead to more serious implications. Some patients who experience numbness do not know that they are suffering from arthritis. In serious cases, even turning the head can cause severe pain and amplify the symptoms. Nerve irritation will cause the body to become weak and in-depth diagnostic is required.

Identifying the symptoms of arthritis early can help to prevent joint damage and treatment can be administered quicker. Arthritis can be passed down from generations so if your family has a history of arthritis, you will need to perform health checks regularly.

4 Ways To Survive The Cast

A cast is meant to hold broken bones in place until it heals. Casts help to immobilise the immediate areas around an injured joint and reduces muscular contractions, preventing further movement at the injury site. It holds the entire broken bone in the correct alignment while allowing it to heal naturally. It can either be placed to prevent surgery for minor cases or as a protective barrier after surgery depending on the seriousness of the injury. However, casts are bulky and rigid things that make movement extremely difficult. Let’s look at some ways to survive the cast.

Crutches

Your best friend throughout your time in a cast would probably be your crutches. Since movements will be severely hindered, you will definitely need assistance to move around. It is impractical to ask your family and friends to help you all the time so this is where crutches come into the picture. Crutches can help you to move around much easier and reduce dependency on your loved ones.

Wheelchair

Wheelchair is another possible means to move around in a much more comfortable method. However, wheelchairs will cause inconvenience to those around you due to the size of it and although you are more comfortable, there are more limitations to what you can do. For example, you can easily board a bus using crutches but it is impossible to board a bus that is not equipped for wheelchairs.

Elevate your legs

Prolonged periods of being in a cast can cause blood to concentrate at the injury site due to the sheer weight of it and gravity acting on it. As such, if your legs are in a cast, you should try to elevate it in a position above your heart whenever you can. Elevating above the heart will allow for proper blood circulation and promote a speedier healing process. This is especially important during your sleep whereby your feet will be in the position for at least 7 hours. Prop your legs up using multiple pillows and reduce the chances of Deep Vein Thrombosis.

Ice

Ice will help to decrease the swelling and relieve pain. However, make sure you do not cause the cast to become wet or it might start to affect the integrity of it. To prevent this from happening, place some ice inside a small plastic bag and wrap it with a towel. When possible, ice the injured region for 15 minutes every hour. This will definitely speed up healing.

Casts are bulky protective items that help to protect your injured joint or bone. It immobilises the injured part and ensures proper alignment is met during the recovery phase. As such, it will cause inconvenience to our lives and much adjustment has to be made. However, it is a crucial part of the healing process and if this step goes wrong, our joints will be affected for life.