Osgood-Schlatter Disease: Symptoms & Treatment

Osgood-Schlatter disease (OSD) is a medical condition resulting from the inflammation of bones, cartilage or tendons in the tibia. The result of this are growth spurts that specifically affects the knee. It is much more common in growing teenagers between the ages of 10 to 15. It also affects people who are more active in sports involving frequent jumping and running.

OSD will affect growing teenagers at the beginning of their growth spurts. Growth spurts provide the most ideal condition for OSD as different components of the body is growing but at a different rate. For example, the bone grows much faster than soft tissues such as tendons and cartilage and this will create a lot of stress on the growth plate, causing a bony lump. This lump is caused by traction tendinitis and is due to the hardening of the bone at the top of the tibia.

What are the symptoms?

OSD is a medical condition that can be felt due to the tension on the patella tendon by the surrounding muscles. This will result in painful inflammation of the tibia, affecting the patellar tendon all the way to the shinbone. The result is extreme pain, swelling and tenderness which is visible with an x-ray diagnosis. There are other possible symptoms and these include:

  • Pain that gets worse after periods of activeness
  • Pain goes away after periods of rest
  • Swelling under the knee and shinbone
  • Tightness of hamstring and quadriceps muscles

 

How can OSD be treated?

OSD will usually go away on its own after the growth spurt periods and this is usually by the age of 18. If symptoms persist after that, treatment is then required:

  • Icing the affected area for three times a day or as required, especially after sports
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling and pain
  • Reduction of high impact activities
  • Using a knee immobiliser such as a knee brace
  • Stretching before and after any activity
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles

 

Shock absorbent insoles are recommended if the patient is going back to high impact activities or prolonged periods of walking. However, patients are recommended to stop participating in sports to facilitate healing. Non-impact sports such as swimming are still allowed though.

There are no known long-term complications of OSD and only in rare cases are there patients with persistent swelling. In some patients, there are also persistent lumps appearing on the shinbone but this is extremely rare.

Neck Sprain: Cause & Treatments

The cervical vertebrae of the spine consist of seven bones that are connected to each other by strong fibrous tissues such as the ligaments, tendons and muscles. A sprain occurs when one of these tissues are stretched beyond its limit. This can happen during a sudden movement such as a car accident, causing the neck to bend to the extreme.

The neck is an extremely smart structure that is designed to house and protect our backbone – the spinal cord. The spinal cord provides support to our head and consists of millions of nerves that acts as signals and transmitters to relay messages from our brain to the rest of our body. However, it is also one of the weakest component of our body and the extreme flexibility that allows you to bend and touch your toes also leaves it vulnerable to impact.

Causes

There are several possible causes for a neck sprain:

  • Spending too much time in an awkward position such as hunching when using a computer for long periods
  • Sleeping in an awkward position without adequate support from a proper pillow
  • Sudden forceful impact such as during a car accident, causing whiplash
  • Working for long periods in the same position such as painting a ceiling for hours

Treatment

Our ligaments, tendons and muscles are designed to heal itself in a short time if it is minor.

  • Applying a cold pack will help to reduce inflammation, allowing the body time to heal. Ice pack should be applied every hour for the first 24 hours as this is the acute stage
  • Applying a heat pack will enhance blood circulation, allowing efficient blood exchange. Old blood containing dead cells will be drained off while new blood carrying large amounts of nutrients and oxygen will help to speed up the healing process
  • Anti-inflammatory medication will help to bring down the swelling and provide pain relief
  • Massaging the neck area will help to dissipate any blood clots that are formed and promote blood circulation
  • Hydrotherapy is a novel treatment method that uses salt to release muscle sprains. Magnesium which is found in the salt will reduce the rate of calcium binding following a muscle contracting
  • Acupuncture is a TCM technique stimulates specific acupuncture points to manipulate the flow of energy and provide restoration of joint mobility to the neck

Neck sprains are usually causes by activities that requires long periods of prolonged movement of the neck.

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.

Causes And Symptoms Of Osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis in an inflammation of the bone, usually the bone marrow and the surrounding bone tissues due to an infection. It is a rare but extremely serious condition. Once infection occurs, the bone marrow will swell up and this will hinder blood from flowing properly. When this happens, the bone cells will not get sufficient oxygen from the blood and may lead to the bone dying. We will discuss about the causes and symptoms of Osteomyelitis in this article.

Causes

Bone inflammation is usually caused by a bacterial called Staphylococcus aureus. It is associated with open skin ulcers which can cause trauma to the tissues. However, our bone are extremely well protected by the skin and bacteria will not get to infect it usually. The bone is at risk when there is trauma to the bone or bones have been broken due to various reasons such as an accidental fall or sports injuries.  Patients who have undergone open surgery recently are also at risk as bacteria could have entered during the surgical process if hygiene standards were not strict enough. Patients who had artificial joint replacements are also at risk due to material incompatibility issues. Once infection happens, it spreads at an alarming rate to the nearby tissues.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary from each patient. Common symptoms include swelling and tenderness in the limbs, fever and pain. Symptoms will take a long time to develop. The usual areas which are infected first are the spinal vertebrae. Patients will often not realise that they have contracted Osteomyelitis. However, there is one unique characteristic in which the pain at the bones are unable to be relieved despite the use of oral painkillers or even heat packs. Sooner or later, pus will start to build up in the affected area and an abscess will form. Blood tests will also not be able to pick up the disease. Patients who feel the pain at their artificial joint will encounter prolonged nigging pain which will soon develop into a chronic infection.

Osteomyelitis takes a long time for symptoms to start surfacing and even so, symptoms are not easily distinguished from normal infection. Patients can be suffering from it for years before finally realising it. In mild cases, antibiotics will be prescribed and the recovery time is short. In severe cases, intravenous antibiotics will be required followed by drainage of the pus. If artificial joints are the ones responsible, they will have to be removed and new ones will have to replace it.

Hand Fracture and Aftercare Instructions

In our hand are 5 bones which connect the wrist to the thumbs and fingers. These are the metacarpal bones and they are located between the phalanges and carpus bones. When one of these bones breaks, it is classified as a hand fracture and a splint or cast is often required to be worn whilst the bones heal on their own. For serious cases, surgery may be required to surgically reconnect and mend them using cement. In this article, we will be looking at the causes of fracture as well as the aftercare instructions for them.

Although our bones have good compressive strength, it has poor tensile strength. When sufficient force is applied, the bone can fracture and when this occurs, it is accompanied by pain, swelling and the inability to utilise it. A cast or splint will usually be placed in order to immobilise the hand as well as to prevent any unwanted stresses while it heals. In order to make the pain more bearable, your doctor will prescribe pain relief medication to be taken orally. Since this medication requires some time before it works, you should take it before the previous one wears off in order to prevent feeling any unwanted pain. In cases where inflammation is present, antibiotics will need to be consumed in order to treat the infection caused by bacteria. Always make sure that medication is taken on time to prevent any gaps in the recovery process.

When you are at home, you can apply an ice pack to the fractured portion of your hand. Icing helps to decrease inflammation and the pain associated with it. It also constricts the blood vessels and help to speed up the delivery of essential nutrients required for healing. It also reduces tissue damages to the sensitive parts. However, always remember to remove your cast or splint prior to the application of ice as the cast and splint cannot get wet. In order to regain finger movement in the shortest time, you should try to work out your fingers. A hand grip is great for building up hand strength and muscle and you can use it anywhere.

Hand fractures will usually require between 4 to 6 weeks for it to fully heal, but it will take an even longer time for you to regain full strength. In order to reduce this timeframe, you should make use of any possible time to gain those muscles.

Treatment and Prevention of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a painful medical condition due to overuse of the tendons in the elbow. Contrary to its name, tennis elbow does not happen to people who are active in playing tennis. Pain is usually felt in the muscles that are attached to the piece of bone that is bumped up at the elbow region. The intensity of pain depends on the severity of the injury and it can be treated using pain relievers for minor cases to surgery for major ones. What are some treatment methods and ways to prevent tennis elbow?

As mentioned above, tennis elbow is an overuse injury that can be caused by various reasons such as sports, gardening and even simple tasks such as lifting a plastic bag filled with groceries. This pain is caused by wear and tear of the common extensor tendon, leading to inflammation and swelling.

The most important treatment that can be administered is rest. Careful attempts to reduce repetitive motions in order to prevent further aggravation of the tendon are crucial and this can be kept in check by using an elbow brace. An effective elbow brace will wrap snugly around the forearm below the elbow and prevent unwanted movements that can hinder recovery efforts. Another type of common treatment method is the oral consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. NSAIDs help to reduce inflammation and bring down selling, but they do not heal the injury. They simply make the injury feel much more bearable to the patient. Applying a nice cold ice pack at home or in the office can also help to bring down the inflammation and reduce swelling. Cold packs will constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow, resulting in lesser movements in the elbow region. To tackle the problem at its roots, you can choose either to perform physical therapy or undergo surgery. Physical therapy will help to strengthen the muscles and soft tissues around the elbow to help better support your injured elbow. It takes place under the supervision of a trained physical therapist that will provide quality advices. For serious cases, surgery is often required to stitch up the injured tendon and snip off the loose parts which are causing irritation to the nearby tissues.

The best prevention tips for tennis elbow are strengthening exercises and reducing chances of overusing the elbow. Stretching and strengthening the muscles will ensure that you have the physical strength to perform out activities without increasing the chances of injuries. Do not overuse your elbow joint by constantly alternating your hands when you are performing strenuous activities and if they are to be done for a long period of time, use an elbow brace.

Cervical Spondylosis: Symptoms and Treatments

Neck pain is a common complaint experienced by many and is often the result of ageing. This is due to our cervical spine degenerating due to age, resulting in arthritis in the body. When arthritis happens in the neck, it is called neck arthritis or medically known as cervical spondylosis. One important thing to note is that cervical spondylosis is often non-life threatening. In this article, we will discuss about the causes, symptoms and treatments available for cervical spondylosis.

Causes

As we age, degeneration occurs and the interverterbral discs located between our spinal disks will start to lose its moisture content, reducing the shock absorption abilities. When this occurs, it causes the collapse of disk spaces as well as the shortening of the disk space. With a poor shock absorption capability, wear and tear will cause the cartilage to wear off rapidly, resulting in a direct abrasion between bones. The body will not allow for this to happen and thus, it begins to grow new bones. Over a period of time, bone overgrowth or bone spurs will occur and this will cause stenosis.

Symptoms

Different people will experience different sets of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. It can get worse from simple actions such as lifting your head up. Some common symptoms include experiencing pain and stiffness in the neck which gets amplified through actions, numbness in the arms and hands which is an indication of nerve injury, muscle spasms and migraines. It can get better with rest or medication.

Treatments

Treatment is classified into 2 groups namely surgical and non-surgical with the latter being preferred. Non-surgical treatments include physiotherapy and medication. Physiotherapy aims to strengthen the already weak muscles and correct the body’s posture. It is often scheduled thrice a week for at least 8 weeks. Sometimes, medication will be prescribed to help combat inflammation and reduce pain to a tolerable level. Acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are the usual few to help to control pain.

Surgical treatments are often the last resort and are reserved for those who are suffering from extreme pain and no other non-surgical treatments are able to help at all. This is due to the high risk involved in the surgery and the high cost involved, which makes it almost impossible financially for many. Surgical procedures such as spinal fusion, foraminotomy and laminectomy are commonly performed to either reduce the pressure off the spine or remove the excess bone spurs.

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 Misconceptions About Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) is commonly administered to patients suffering from lower back or leg pain. Lower back pain is due to the inflammation of spinal nerves, causing pain and discomfort to patients as the nerve passage is narrower compared to healthy patients. Corticosteroids are extremely strong pain relief medication that is injected directly into the area of concern, providing immediate relief. However, most patients undergo the procedure with the mentality that they will be “cured” from their lower back pain. This is a misconception of it and in fact, there are many more misconceptions out there about ESI.

ESI is extremely safe

Well, this is a misconception although it is true to a certain extent. Many people think that steroid injections are much safer than oral consumption of steroids. However, this really depends on the medication that is prescribed as the toxicity differs. While oral consumption of medication may cause irritation to the stomach and with the fact that it “travels” a longer distance down, there is a higher risk of allergy. However, ESI are injected directly into the affected area and when something bad occurs, it happens immediately without providing you much reaction time.

Repeated treatments are required for visible results

Many doctors tell their patients that a minimum of 3 ESI is required before they are effective. However, this is the average value comprising data from hundreds of thousands of patients worldwide. In fact, the exact amount of dosage required by each patient is never the same due to the differing genetics of each of us. Some patients get immediate relief after just a single injection while some may need a lot more to see results.

Multiple invasive sites are required

Most of us would have visited the hospital for one reason or another and a high percentage of us have had multiple needles injected into us. ESI are totally different from your usual invasive treatments. Only a single needle is required to be injected as ESI is done under the guidance of an X-Ray machine, providing the doctor with the exact spot to inject.

Immediate pain relief is obtained

While you may get immediate pain relief from the compressing of spinal nerves, you may suffer temporary pain in the form of bruises and tenderness due to the injection. Although the technique is conducted under the guide of an x-ray machine, human error is bound to happen. Bruising and swelling will go away on its own in just a couple of days.

Epidural Steroid Injections have been performed for a long time and it has a track record of being rather safe and successful. Since the procedure is an outpatient one, patients do not need to spend a night in the hospital, making it much more flexible and economical for them.

 

Dos and Don’ts When Recovering From Hairline Fracture

Only those who have experienced fracture will know the immense pain when the fracture first occurred. The immediate onset of pain followed by several limitations that will cause us to alter our activities to accommodate to the inconvenience caused. After everything is over, it’s time to start the recovery process. Recovery from a hairline fracture is a spontaneous process that does not require any external energy to kick start it. However, there are some Dos and Don’ts which should be observed to expedite the healing process and prevent reoccurrence.

Partake high energy food

Although healing is a spontaneous process, prompt and fast healing will require extra energy input. The daily caloric intake needs to be increased to promote healing. Metabolic demands of the body increases drastically. An adult will require around 2500 calories daily while a patient suffering from fracture will need about 6000 calories! So start eating more food that is packed with energy.

Increase protein intake

Our bone is like a rigid sponge that is filled with a protein matrix embedded with calcium reinforcements. Half of the bone is made up of protein and protein is the building block of our body. During a fracture, the structure is compromised and the body will start to synthesis a new protein matrix. As a result, it will require tremendous amount of protein. An increase in protein intake will also result in an increase of growth factors such as insulin that will increase muscle strength and promote bone renewal. If protein levels are insufficient, the healing process will be compromised and delayed.

Increase antioxidants intake

Antioxidants are great against free radicals such as oxygen. During a bone fracture, the damaged tissues generate a huge amount of free radicals that will attack the collagen in the body. These free radicals will cause inflammation and lead to an even further damage on the collagen structure. Antioxidants will neutralise these free radicals and promote healing.

Do not exert force on the fractured area

The fracture region is already very weak and further exertion of weight can cause the fracture to get worse. Imagine a piece of glass that is shattered. If you place something heavy on the crack lines, you will notice it spreading out. This applies the same to a fracture. If you really need to move around, use crutches or a walker to help you along.

Although a hairline fracture is not as serious as a full fledge fracture, it still poses a huge risk to the patient. Any further aggravation will cause the injury to worsen and lead to undesirable consequences. Always remember to get plenty of rest and consume foods that are high in calcium, essential minerals and protein.