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.

Frozen Shoulder: Cause & Symptoms

Frozen shoulder as its name suggests is a medical condition affecting the shoulder joint where it becomes swollen and stiff as though it is frozen. Our shoulder is a ball and socket joint designed for a wide range of motion and flexibility. Frozen shoulder is a condition that happens slowly over time and will also go away after a year. It may happen after injuries or diseases such as diabetes or stroke. Patients with frozen shoulder will have the formation of scar tissues in the shoulder capsule, causing it to thicken.

There is still no full understanding as to why frozen shoulder occurs. However, there are a few possible causes that are attributed to it:

Previous injury associated with shoulder

Patients who have had past shoulder injuries or surgeries such as a fracture or shoulder replacement may experience frozen shoulder. This is largely due to the post-recovery process requiring them to have large amounts of immobilization time. As a result, the shoulder capsule tightens over time and result in it freezing.

Diabetes

Patients who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to develop frozen shoulder though the mechanism is still unknown. It could be due to the large buildup of collagen in the shoulder joint. Diabetic patients have large amount of glucose molecules in the body and these excess glucose will attach themselves to the collagen, causing them to stiffen up.

The most common and obvious symptom of frozen shoulder is persistence pain and stiffness in the shoulder joint. Symptoms usually develop slowly over time, usually within a two year timeline.

There are three stages of frozen shoulder:

Pain stage – This is the initial stage where the shoulder will become slightly stiff and the pain increases when any movement is made on the shoulder. This will result in the reduced amount of motion in the shoulder, causing it to become worse. Pain will increase after periods of immobility such as after a sleep in the morning.

Frozen stage – This is the stage where the shoulder will become much stiffer and movement is almost impossible. Usually in this stage, pain does not increase nor go away. Patients will often feel that this is due to them getting used to the pain and they are usually resigned to a lifestyle requiring little use of their shoulder.

Thawing stage – This is the final stage where improvements are slowly seen. The pain in the shoulder will start to go away and shoulders will become less stiff. Patients will be able to move their shoulder much more than before.

How Can I Manage Pain After My Total Knee Replacement Surgery?

Pain is an unavoidable side effect of any surgery, not just a knee replacement surgery. While patients are anxious to undergo surgery in order to regain back a wholesome quality life, they are often unaware and uneducated about how to manage pain post surgery. The pain is definitely here to stay for awhile and knowing how to manage pain will help you set reasonable recovery goals. In this article, we will talking about how you can manage pain better after your total knee replacement surgery.

Rest

Our body repairs itself only when we are at rest. Surgery is an extremely taxing procedure for our body. Imagine all those stresses and trauma to not just the surgical site but also to the surrounding soft tissues. Therefore, plenty of rest post surgery is extremely important for the body. As a rule of thumb, expect to be immobile for a week post knee surgery. The mass of the surrounding muscles will start to decrease in a medical phenomenon known as muscular atrophy while the knee will be unable to bear your body’s weight. Therefore, do nothing but rest during the first week.

Icing

It is also during this period where pain will be at its max. Therefore, icing is crucial in helping to manage pain. Ice helps to decrease swelling and relief inflammation of the knee. It constricts the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the area. Icing is convenient and can be done almost everywhere. When you are icing your knee, remember to elevate your knee to above your heart.

Compression

Compression stockings are important as they help to create pressure and increase blood flow in order to prevent blood clots from forming. Compression stockings will also help to relief achiness in the leg.

Medicine

As much as you think you are Hercules, you still need pain relief medication to tide you through the initial tough period. Pain relief medications help to bring down the swelling and provide you relief during periods when you are sleeping. You do not want to lose your sleep constantly due to the pain, do you? However, do not depend too much on the medicine. When the pain gets more bearable, ditch the medication and increase your icing times.

Managing pain post total knee replacement surgery is not difficult if you follow the simple steps listed above. Be mindful not to rush through your recovery process and it may lead to long term complications.

How Can I Manage Pain After My Total Hip Replacement Surgery?

Patients who are scheduled for a total hip replacement surgery will often have many questions about the procedure, and the most common being pain management. Most patients want to know how to overcome the initial pain barrier and how to live with it during the recovery period. They want to be able to sleep well and not be woken up in the middle of the night drenched in cold sweat from the pain. In this article, we will look at ways to manage pain after hip replacement surgery.

Pain is essentially a chemical reaction occurring in the body. Different people have different pain tolerance levels so it is very subjective. Therefore, pain management usually requires a certain level of expectations on the patient’s part. Hip replacement surgery will definitely bring about significant inconvenience of the need for prolonged periods of immobility and rest in order to allow the body to kick start the healing process. Our body repairs the muscles and tissues when we are at rest.

In the initial stages of post surgery, minimal motion is recommended. Often by the 10th day, the pain level will be bearable without the need for oral medications to suppress it. Patients during this stage will start to use walking aids such as crutches and walkers to aid them in their movements. Whenever feasible, you should always try to use ice to help relief the swelling and bring down the pain. With advances in technology, reusable gel packs that are capable of staying cold for long periods of time are available and this offers a much better option for patients.

Pain relief medications are a must. Otherwise, the pain may get so unbearable that you cannot do anything. However, always remember to use medication in conjunction with ice packs in order to reduce the dependency on drugs.

Elevating the legs will also help to bring down swelling. This can be done almost everywhere. Regular elevation of the leg coupled with icing and medication will help bring down the pain to a new low. Physical therapy will also be required by the patient for up to a year depending on the recovery level. Physical therapy helps the patient to regain range of motion, build up muscles and strengthen the injured area in order to prevent re-injury.

Pain management after hip replacement surgery is fairly straight forward. Lots of rest is needed followed by regular consumption of pain relief medication, icing, elevation and physical therapy. The initial stages may be difficult at first but persevere on and the results will be all worthwhile.

Causes and Symptoms of Ankle Fractures in Children

Ankle fractures are common injuries in Children. This is largely attributed to the lack of fully developed strong bones in them and the increased intensity of activities in their daily lifestyle. Ankle fractures occur when there is a break in one of the ankle bones namely the tibia, fibula or talus. Ankle fractures in children usually involve either both the tibia and fibula instead of the talus due to the involvement of growth plates responsible for the regulation of bone growth. Immediate medical attention should be sought as delayed treatment will have a long term irreversible impact on the growth and shape of the adult bone.

Causes

Twisting

Children usually fracture their ankles during intense activities such as basketball, soccer or volleyball. Twisting occurs unexpectedly and no one can predict the exact action that will occur. Twisting can happen while jumping and landing awkwardly or a sudden direction change.

Growth plates

The outside long bones do not growth from the centre. It actually grows from the ends of the bones and when a child becomes an adult, these growth plates will harden up into a bone on its own. Since growth plates are the last few bones in the body to fully form, they are weaker in mechanical strength and are at a higher risk of fracture. As a result, twisting that occurs from the scenarios mentioned above will usually lead to growth plate fractures.

Missing a step

Fractures resulting from missing a step on the stairs are common injuries especially in children due to their lack of ability to react instantly. The sudden jerking action will lead to a resultant twist which will cause a broken bone to happen.

Symptoms

Bruising and swelling

Bruising and swelling are the most common and almost immediate symptom of an ankle fracture. This is due to the body’s defense system rushing all the blood to the affected area to fight any infections, leading to an increase in fluid amount.

Pain

The ankle will be extremely painful and tender to touch. Bearing weight on the injured ankle will be an almost impossible task and slight movements will result in a sharp pain.

Bone fragments poking out

The most obvious symptom would be the sight of a bone fragment pushing against the skin. This is extremely dangerous and immediate medical attention is required in order to push back the bone to its proper place through surgery.

Ankle fractures in children are common injuries in children and can lead to serious long term complications on the bone development in them. Medical attention should be sought and self medication should not be attempted.

Causes and Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

Our knee joint is where the femur and tibia meets. This unique combination allows a wide range of motion for the knee under undisturbed conditions. However due to certain complications such as injuries, the surface of the knee joint is damaged and mobility is hindered as a result. There are basically 3 kinds of arthritis affecting the knee: Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-trauma Arthritis. In this article, we will be looking at the causes and symptoms of knee arthritis.

Causes

We must first understand the differences between the 3 kinds of knee arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of knee arthritis and is a degenerative disease that is often accompanied by ageing. Due to wear and tear, the joint cartilage starts to wear off and this results in pain and inflammation when the knee joint rubs against each other. On the other hand, unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which our body’s immune system attacks the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis can happen to anyone from any age group. Last but not least is post-trauma arthritis which is essentially caused by direct trauma to the knee. This direct trauma causes damage to the cartilage and changes the joint mechanics, accelerating wear and tear.

Symptoms

Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something located somewhere in your body is wrong. Pain is due to the secretion of chemical signals to your brain which are then recognised as pain. Knee arthritis causes inflammation to the affected joint. This inflammation causes swelling and damages the surrounding soft tissues. In an attempt to reduce stresses on the injured part, the surrounding muscles will try to overload themselves but this will cause muscle soreness after a period of time, contributing to the pain experienced.

Crepitus

Crepitus is characterised by a creaking and grinding sensation when you attempt to move your injured joint.  This is due to cartilage wear down in the spaces between the knee joints. Crepitus can be painful or painless depending on individual conditions.

Knee giving way

Some patients may experience sensations of their knee giving way. This is due to the joint being unstable and the surrounding muscles being fatigued from having to take over the duties of the injured joint. Patients may require walking aids such as a walker or crutches and may use knee braces to stabilise and provide support to the knee joint.

There are various methods of managing arthritis ranging from oral supplements to surgery. However, these do not effectively heal the patient. Scientists are looking at cartilage transplants in the future which could lessen the amount of pain.

Checklist to Seek the Most Appropriate Treatment

Checklists are wonderful organising aids to help us make some of the most difficult yet important decisions in our lives. Without a checklist, we will be drowned by the myriad of choices, especially when it comes to healthcare and medical treatment. It is important to know when to seek medical treatment and attention. Many people who have suffered injuries often ignore it with the mentality that things will get better a few days later. While this is true for minor injuries, major ones cannot wait and the later you seek help, the lower the chances of recovery. Here is a checklist to help you seek the most appropriate treatment.

Pain

Pain is the body’s way of telling you that something somewhere isn’t right and it’s time you ought to do a health check. However, when pain already sets in, it’s often a tad too late. But this does not mean that you should sit back and do nothing! Understand the type of pain whether it comes on and goes away suddenly or it lingers for quite a fair bit of time. You should also try to find out the exact location of the pain and this can help you narrow down the possibilities.

Localised or Generalised?

Symptoms usually start generalised before zooming into a localised region. When you start to suffer from generalised discomfort, it’s time to visit a doctor and he will usually do an x-ray for you. If the problem is left ignored, it will often become localised and this will cause more problems and will often become very serious by the time you visit a doctor. However, some medical problems are very direct, such as an Anterior Cruciate Ligament tear. Upon immediate impact and tearing of the ACL, there will be swelling and inability for the leg to bear your body weight. You will also know that you need to seek immediate treatment from an Orthopaedic surgeon.

Know the various types of specialist surgeons

There are so many specialist surgeons out there, from Cardiothoracic to Neurosurgeon to Orthopaedic. Understanding which part of your body is affecting you will help you seek the correct surgeon for the best advice. For example, you will not seek an ENT surgeon for ankle sprains. Neither will you seek a Gynaecologist for nose problems.

Above are 3 points that should be in any checklist for appropriate medical treatment. Although they are not comprehensive, there are still able to help you narrow down available treatment methods for you.

 

4 Major Health Complications from Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that will lead to a gradual decrease in bone density and eventual loss of the skeleton’s ability to bear the weight of the body. This is a major cause for fractures and women are at a higher risk due to their already lower bone density and the ability to breast feed. Our bone mass peaks by 30 years of age and it will start to decline after that. Without sufficient calcium intake, it will get worse. Osteoporosis is also known as the silent disease as the symptoms come without any knowing.

Fractures

Previously, any slight falls or knocks will not cause any fractures in your body. However, someone with osteoporosis will find that even the slightest knock can result in fractures with the most common being hip fractures. A patient suffering from osteoporosis will have his bone structure similar to honeycombs with all the voids in between. With such poor mechanical strength, it cannot function well as is prone to cracking.

Pain

Fractures will lead to pain and these can cause a lot of discomfort to your daily lifestyle. If the fracture is affecting the spine, it can lead to spinal compression or Kyphosis. Kyphosis is extremely painful and it is similar to backaches, only that it is amplified when movements are attempted. Even the simplest action of bending down to retrieve something can cause severe sharp pain.

 Loss of mobility

Osteoporosis can also lead to loss of mobility. With stiff and weak bones, even the slightest bit of action can result in small fractures. Pain will also result in the reluctance to perform any motion and will lead to an eventual desire to not move. Joints that are immobile for long periods of time will get stiff and eventually, the mobility will be lost.

 Emotional

Complications of osteoporosis are not simply physical; they can be mental and emotional as well. Patients who are suffering from osteoporosis feel that they are useless and this will lead to an eventual depression. With a negative outlook on life, it can negatively influence their friends.

Osteoporosis is a disease that does not have any prior symptoms. There are however many preventive steps that can be taken to prevent osteoporosis and those include consumption of calcium, vitamin D and exercising regularly. A proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is the natural enemy of osteoporosis!

6 Medications Used For Orthopaedic Treatments

Pain is often the first symptom of most orthopaedic problems. A proper diagnosis followed by prompt treatment will need to be administered to patients in the shortest possible  time. However, not all orthopaedic problems will need to be treated by surgery. Medications can help in most cases to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain and allow the patient to continue to lead a high quality lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some of the common medications that are used for orthopaedic treatments.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are used to help in pain relief and reduce swelling, tenderness, redness and stiffness following an injury that affects the joints or bones. Common NSAIDS include aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol. For minor injuries such as a sprain or strain, NSAIDS are usually sufficient to control and heal it.

Anti-depressants

An orthopaedic injury can be a huge blow for most people, especially those who are active in sports. It can result in the need to make huge changes in daily activities and this can cause depression is some people. As a result, anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and Zyban are often prescribed to patients who are at a higher risk of depression.

Anti-seizure

Injuries to the nerves can cause a lot of unwanted and sudden pain. Most of the time, the pain can be described as a sudden stabbing pain and this will eventually lead to seizure. Therefore, anti-seizure drugs will be prescribed to patients to prevent this from happening. Common anti-seizure drugs include Gabapentin, Carbamazepine and Topiramate.

Pain relievers

Pain relievers help to reduce inflammation and bring down swelling and tenderness. Pain relievers act by either blocking the nerve from sending information to the brain or changing the sensory meaning of pain,  reducing pain dramatically.

Corticosteroids

A single corticosteroids injection can help to provide pain relief for up to 6 months. Corticosteroids treatments can be administered either orally or through injections and injections are the most preferred method as the drug is passed directly to the inflamed tissue. Corticosteroids are not meant to be used for a long period of time as they can cause serious side effects.

Anti-osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs mainly due to ageing. This is due to the reduced intake of calcium and that causes the bones to get thinner and thinner. Over time, it will lead to a reduced bone density and increase the risk of bone fractures. Anti-osteoporosis drugs act by injecting a concentrated amount of calcium and bone forming cells to reduce bone thinning and increase calcium content.

Drugs are prescribed based on many different factors such as medical history, allergy, age and severity of orthopaedic injury. Instead of surgery, some minor injuries can be easily treated with medication.

4 Symptoms You Might Be Suffering From a Fracture

Fractures or broken bones results when the impact force is too high for the bone to withstand, causing it to crack. Fractures are straight forward injuries and it is a serious one. Our bones are structurally rigid and it is reinforced by connective tissues and calcium. Bone fractures come in different forms and severity that is dependent on the direction of the force and the extent of it as well as the patient’s age and health. There are some parts of the body that are prone to fractures and they are the areas that are frequently used and commonly occur as sports injuries. Some examples are the wrists, ankles and hip. Fractures can be either open or closed, with an open fracture being the bone being exposed through the skin while for the closed fracture, the skin is intact.

Bone fracture symptoms vary according to the area of injury as well as the severity. Some of them include:

Pain and Swelling

Pain and swelling occurs due to edema of the underlying soft tissues which are caused by the bleeding of periosteal blood vessels, causing immense pressure on the tissues. Although there are no nerves in the bones, the impact force and sometimes fragments can cause the immune system to act to destroy these “foreign materials”, causing swelling and inflammation to occur.

Bruising

Bruising occurs when injuries to the blood vessels occur, damaging or even breaking them due to impact forces. The tiny bump commonly seen due to bruising are due to a combination of blood leaking out from these injured blood vessels as well as the immune system’s response to the injury.

Deformity

Deformity of the injured region may occur after fracture. For example, if the shoulder is fractured, the broken bone may move out of position, making the shoulder joint look like a deformed part of the body. Very often, bone fragments can be seen sticking out and this can often be either an open or closed fracture.

Unable to use the limb.

The limb that is fractured will lose most of its capability to do even simple things like lifting up or moving around. This is due to the bones that are not connected together anymore, causing the joint to malfunction completely.
Fractures are serious medical conditions and at all times you should try to apply a cold pack to the injured region and try not to move the patient around. Immediately seek medical help and when possible, remove all clothing from the injured area.