Bunions: Cause & Treatments

Bunions are bony humps that form at the base of the big toe. When this happens, the big toe will curve towards the other toes and cause the base of the toe to push towards the first metatarsal bone. It usually occurs at a joint and the entire body weight will be acting on it. This will result in tremendous pain and discomfort.

Causes

As we grow and develop, more pressure is acting on the foot due to the need to support the body’s entire weight. Therefore, it gets worse as age increases. Bunions is hereditary and will run in the family due to the fact that foot type and shape is hereditary. In some cases, bunions will develop with existing medical conditions such as arthritis. Women are also at a higher risk of suffering from bunions due to the fact that most women wear tight and ill-fitting high heeled shoes, pushing the foot bone into awkward positions for long periods of time.

Non-surgical treatment

Non-surgical is targeted to reduce pressure on the big toe and provide pain relief.

  • Wearing wide and comfortable shoes with sufficient space for toes to wriggle. The insoles should also provide good arch support.
  • Custom made orthotics will help to distribute the body’s weight equally throughout the foot and reduce any unnecessary pressure acting on the big toe.
  • Pain relief medication will provide instant pain relief for patients and bring down the swelling.
  • Ice is a cheap and effective method to reduce swelling and provide pain relief.

Surgical treatment

If non-surgical treatment does not provide adequate pain relief, daily activities such as walking can be severely hindered. In such cases, surgery may be the only option left. The main aim of bunion surgery is to straighten the curved toe bone and provide pain relief.

  • Bunionectomy is a bunion specific surgery and involves removal of part of the affected metatarsal head.
  • Osteotomy involves the cutting of bones located in the toe to prevent bone spurs from sticking out and re-alignment the soft tissues around the toe joint.
  • Resection arthroplasty is reserved for more serious cases and involve the removal of bone located at the end of the first metatarsal joining the metatarsophalangeal joint.

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. A good pair of footwear is often all that is needed to prevent one from getting bunions. Selecting a pair of functional shoes over one that is aesthetically pleasing is a much sensible choice.

How Do I Know If I Need Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is not something that everyone needs. However due to certain medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, hip replacement surgery may be the only way to get back a good quality of life. The choice is still ultimately up to you on whether to undergo hip replacement surgery or to take pain relief medication to tide you through. Let’s discuss on how you know if you really need surgery.

Unbearable pain and stiff hips

When pain gets unbearable and hips are always stiff, simple actions such as climbing the stairs, walking and even standing can be extremely difficult. Pain relief medication can only help you to overcome pain for certain duration and cannot be used forever. Therefore, when your osteoarthritis is this bad, hip replacement surgery is the only option available for you in order to get back a good quality life.

Bone damages

Due to osteoarthritis, bones are damaged and the bones are unable to regenerate and grow again. The joint cartilages are also disintegrated and no form of medication or physical therapy can help to repair it. When damages to the bone happen, hip replacement surgery will be required to repair it.

Alternative treatments failed

Surgery will usually be the last option that your surgeon will consider. Usually, he will prescribe you pain relief medication followed by physical therapy in order to help you regain flexibility in your joints and strengthen the surrounding muscles. However when all these treatments fail, surgery will be the only option left.

Conditions with no known cure

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the joint mistakenly instead of protecting it. The body does not recognise it as its own and treats it as something foreign and will continuously attack it until it is no longer there. There is no known cure for rheumatoid arthritis yet and patients who suffer from it must undergo hip replacement surgery in order to recover.

Above are 4 common scenarios where a hip replacement surgery needs to be considered. There are many factors that must be considered prior to surgery such as the age of the patient, overall health condition and bone density. Attempts to try alternatives to surgery such as medication and physical therapy will be made before suggesting surgery. Hip replacement surgery is a major and costly procedure and careful thought must be made before a final decision is made.

5 Types of Orthopaedic Impairment

Orthopaedic impairments are impairments to the body which can cause a huge amount of disturbance and affect the quality of life you can achieve. It is a disability that may affect the ability to sit or walk. However, orthopaedic impairments may be treated with conventional treatments such as surgery and physiotherapy. Aids such as crutches, splints, braces and wheelchairs can also greatly improve the quality of life.

Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis is a chronic disease that affects the bone and joints and is triggered by bacteria. It will slowly “eat” away and destroy the bone and joints. Due to the presence of bacteria and infection, pus will be produced by the body’s immune system and this will cause discharges with bad odour. Osteomyelitis is often introduced by actions which we least expect. Walking barefooted outdoors may cause slight abrasions and bacteria can enter the body from those places. If osteomyelitis is not discovered and treated early, reconstructive surgery will be required.

Cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is actually a group of chronic medical conditions that affects the body’s motor conditions. It will lead to the inability for body movements, muscle tones and coordination. In serious cases, it will cause the patient to lose their mental capabilities. Cerebral palsy is due to damages to the brain that usually occurs while the baby is still in the wound. It can be caused by injuries or deformities.

Spinal tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is a deadly infectious disease and when it happens in the spine, it will slowly but surely destroy the backbone and nerves. During the process, it will cause huge physical impairment and can be deadly if it is not treated properly. Spinal tuberculosis can be easily recognised by the thickening of chest after experiencing a sharp bend at the backbone region.

Cleft lip

Cleft lip is an extremely common deformity. During the development of the body, different parts of the face are being formed on its own and the body will naturally fuse them together. Cleft lip occurs when the fusion between the maxillary and medial nasal process does not happen successfully, causing a cleft to form.

Angular bone deformity

Angular bone deformity or simply bending of the bones above the knee is caused by a variation in the normal growth pattern. Angular deformity will cause knock knees or bow legs that will become worse as the child grows. Eventually, he will have problems walking and this will cause an unavoidable joint damage over time.

Orthopaedic Conditions That Require Spine Surgery

Spine surgery is a major surgery that is often the last option for most surgeons due to the complexity and risks involved. Any slight mistakes or accidents can cause permanent paralysis of the body depending on the affected nerves in the spine. Surgeons will often recommend alternative treatments such as medication and physical therapy and when left with no other choices will they opt for spine surgery. With such high risks involved, what are some orthopaedic conditions that require spinal surgery to be carried out?

Herniated disc

A herniated disc occurs when one of the spinal disc in the vertebrae slips or ruptures, causing the soft disc materials to flow out of the disc. When the disc flows out, the movement and material can pinch on the surrounding nerves, causing pain and numbness. A discectomy will need to be carried out to remove this herniated disc that is pinching onto the nerve. A modern evolution is the microdiscectomy which uses high definition microscope to see better and is minimally invasive, reducing the risk.

Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy is performed to relieve pressure from an affected nerve in the spine. This pressure is caused either by bone fragments, scar tissues or excess ligament development in the spinal area, causing it to press against the spine and causing pain and numbness. Foraminotomy will open up the back where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal, reducing the chances of pinching.

Spinal fusion

As the name suggests, spinal fusion aims to join 2 or more vertebrae together to prevent excessive movement which may pinch onto the nerves. Loose vertebrae can press against the nerves during movement, causing pain and numbness. It will also prevent the surrounding soft tissues from stretching. Spinal fusion is based on the simple logic of “if it doesn’t move, it doesn’t hurt”. Similarly to welding in metals, spinal fusion will fuse the vertebrae together. This process however will reduce some flexibility in the spine but this is very minimal.

Artificial lumbar disc replacement

Artificial disc replacement is a new surgical process that uses man-made biomaterials to replace the affected intervertebral disc. The purpose of the spinal disc is to cushion the shock and distribute it evenly. Since the spinal discs do not regenerate as easily as our skin, biomaterials will need to be used to restore flexibility and motion.

Above are 4 orthopaedic conditions that warrant the usage of spinal surgery. Although the risks are there, medical advances have significantly reduced the risks and recovery time. Nonetheless, the risks are still present and serious considerations must be made before deciding on such major surgery as this.

Age-related Orthopaedic Conditions

Age related orthopaedic conditions frequently decreases the ability to remain mobile, cause discomfort and pain and reduces the ability to lead a quality lifestyle, requiring alterations to daily activities. Ageing is a process which is spontaneous and cannot be avoided. However, age-related problems can be avoided if proper nutrition and care is provided.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder indicated by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissues. Osteoporosis can be grouped into systemic and local. Local osteoporosis is due to fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, tumours, muscular paralysis or tendon ruptures. Our bone is frequently undergoing remodelling, forming new bone cells in the process. However, osteoporosis causes an imbalance between this bone forming, causing low bone mineral density and poor quality of bones which are easily fractured.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is another orthopaedic problem associated with ageing. Degeneration of ligaments and joints can cause arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis suffer immense pain. They can also have deformed joints and even loss of motion. Osteoarthritis can happen in any synovial joints, but it occurs most often in frequently used parts of the body such as the hands, feet, knee and hips.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in elderly patients. This is due to the irritation of the median entrapment nerve compressing on the carpal tunnel. Rheumatoid arthritis can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome as well due to the inflammation of the flexor tendons, causing compressive stresses on the carpal tunnel.

Cervical spondylosis

Narrowing of the intervertebral foramina disc can cause irritation at the cervical nerve roots. This is often between the C4/5 vertebrae and can cause stiffness and sensory-motor impairment. Patients can also frequently experience a triad of tenderness over the neck area.

Genu valgum

Genu valgum or knock knee is often due to osteoarthritis in the knee. Osteoarthritis will cause deformation to occur on the knee, causing them to touch each other while straightened, and increasing asymmetrical wear on the cartilages at the medial and lateral joints. Genu valgum will lead to an increase in pain during activities and stiffness.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a medical condition that affects the feet and it causes extreme pain that is amplified after periods of inactivity. The pain is likened to as being stabbed repeatedly in the feet. The onset of pain is largely due to long periods of immobility of the feet such as a long day of using the computer. As the activities around the leg increases, the pain will decrease.

Degenerative orthopaedic conditions are common in the elderly. However, most of the conditions can be improved through physiotherapy or by leading an active lifestyle, working out the limbs and joints more often. When things get serious, pain relief medication may need to be consumed to maintain the level of pain in a tolerable range.

Top 6 White Collar Work Injuries

Work is literally a pain in the body. Don’t you frequently experience pain throughout your body when you return home from work? Studies have concluded that white collar professionals are the ones that have the highest medical claims among all occupations. White collar workers and blue collar workers suffer different pain mainly due to their different job scope. White collar workers sit at their desk the entire day and it does not seem to be hard work at all. However, they often reach home with muscle aches everywhere.

Back pain

Sitting on the chair for prolonged periods can cause a lot of pressure and straining on the back muscles. This is commonly termed as mouse shoulder. You can also experience chronic stiffness in the upper back, lower back and spinal cord. Sitting down for too long will cause the spinal discs to compress and cram up as well as causing inflexibility in the hips which will increase stress levels in the lower back.

Typing injury

Typing injury or repetitive stress injury as its name suggests implies pain in the hands that are caused by repeated typing motions and this will cause even simple daily activities to be almost impossible. This is due to the repeated stresses acting on the tendons and ligaments of the hands. This can cause the ligaments to be inflamed and swell up as a result.

Blurry vision

Staring at the computer screen for the entire will put a lot of strain on the eyes and will leave it dry and tired, eventually leading to blurry vision, headache and eye pain.

Repeated stress disorder

Doing repeated motions every single day in the office can cause muscle overuse and lead to ligament and tendon injuries as well as cause muscle aches.

Neck stiffness

Stiffness of the neck is also another common complaint that many white collar workers have. Due to the prolonged periods of computer usage, the neck is kept in a position unmoved due to the need to view the computer screen. The mistake of setting the monitor height at an incorrect height further aggravates the problem.

Migraines

Many office workers also experience migraines during work and this can ruin a day badly. The exact cause for migraine is still unsure but this is largely due to the prolonged staring at computer screens.

All it takes is just some adjustment to office ergonomics that will lead to a vast improvement in terms of posture and working conditions. Setting the monitor screens at the correct height and the screen brightness to the correct setting can eliminate headaches and even migraines. Sitting upright can reduce chances of back problems.

Why Does Cold Weather Causes Pain in Our Joints?

Do you have an elder at home who seems to be very accurate with her prediction on when the rain will come? They always tell you that once they experience pain in the joint, it will rain soon after. Medically wise, it is still an unsolved mystery about the exact relation between painful joints with cold weather. For a long time, cold and rainy weather has been linked to joint problems and arthritis and these affect areas such as the elbow, wrist, shoulders and knees.

Most people with arthritis or joint problems will suffer pain when the weather changes for the worse. It is largely due to the change in atmospheric pressure. Located in our joints are a lot of sensory nerves which are extremely sensitive to any changes to pressure. Cold weather will cause the linings at the joints to constrict, causing pain and discomfort to patients. Cold weather also restricts the circulation blood flow through the body. As a result, it can cause further inflammation in the joints. Another simple explanation is that during cold and wet weather conditions, movements are severely limited. Most of us will not feel like moving around and want to simply waste our time at home. This lack of movement can cause our body to stiffen up and cause pain in the joints. The natural body mechanism also contributes to joint pain during cold weather. The natural defence mechanism of our body is to divert all the blood from the rest of our body to protect the core of it at the centre of the body. As such, it will divert away and restrict flow to blood to places further from the heart such as the fingers and legs. Due to a reduced blood blow to these extremities, it can cause a lot of problems for people especially those suffering from arthritis.

There is however no strong evidence between cold weather and joint pain although people do experience an increase in joint pain during cold weather. You can try to deal with it with some simple methods. Try to always keep your body covered in thick and warm clothes whenever the weather changes. This will help to proper the flow of blood through your body and reduce joint inflammation. A cup of hot tea or coffee can always help to bring warmth to the rest of your body, relieving some of the symptoms.

 

Top 4 Occupations that Negatively Affects the Musculoskeletal System

Our musculoskeletal system consists of the bones, ligaments, tendons and many more that allows us to move around. Disorders to the musculoskeletal will affect our locomotion and will cause problems to our daily lives. Disorders are often due to cyclic stresses and strains caused by our daily activities. Some occupations have an increased risk for Musculoskeletal disorders and our shoulders, hands, neck and back are the ones that are usually affected.

Carpet layers

Carpet layers are workers who lay carpets for customers. They are required to be in a kneeling position for prolonged periods of times daily and they not only have to kneel on a hard surface, they also have to use a knee kicker to stretch the carpet to ensure proper alignment. Whenever we kneel down, our body weight is fully on our both knees and keeling for long periods of time on a hard surface will cause even more damage to the meniscus and kneecap. Over time, the meniscus will wear off and the kneecap will also get damaged.

Movers

Movers are often required to carry heavy loads on their back and this will cause serious musculoskeletal problems such as chronic back pain, sprains, strains and even slipped disks. Back strains are often caused by overloading and poor lifting techniques. If it continues, the muscle can get torn and that will cause inflammation, causing pain and possibly muscle spasms. An injured back muscle will need to work even harder to protect and support the spine, leaving the spine at an additional risk to getting injured.

Office workers

Office workers work in probably the most relaxed and ideal conditions but they are one of the ones with the highest risk to musculoskeletal disorders. Sitting in a poor posture for a day causes more damage to the body than manual work. Poor posture such as hunching can cause lower back pain and shoulder stiffness. Prolonged sitting in a fixed position can also cause an overload in the muscle structures.

Construction workers

Construction workers are often required to carry heavy static loads throughout the day. To distribute the weight better, they often carry the items over their head in a outstretched position. The muscles are thus unable to contract and this will injure the muscles and even hinder the proper blood circulation around the body. Prolonged period of poor blood flow can cause the arms to swell.

It is easy to prevent musculoskeletal disorders by making small changes to your daily lifestyle. The working environment needs to be changed and you also need to be aware of the hazards you are faced with and overcome them.