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.

Morton’s Neuroma: Symptoms & Treatment

Morton’s neuroma is a medical condition affecting one of the many nerves running between the metatarsals in our foot. Metatarsals are one of the many bones found in the foot. The other bones are the tarsal bones and phalanges with metatarsals being the longest ones. There are a total of five metatarsal bones and the first is the largest and the smallest is the last.

Morton’s neuroma is named after a doctor who first described this condition in 1876 – Dr Morton. It affects the plantar digital nerves running between the metatarsals and usually affects the third and fourth bone. It may also affect the second and third metatarsal bones but this is less common and rarely affects the first and second and fourth and fifth.

Patients suffering from Morton’s neuroma often complain of pain that starts in the ball of the foot all the way to the affected toes. Some patients however will brush it away as toe pain. In some cases, a stinging sensation might also be felt in the toe. The pain will also be felt at the sides of the affected toes. For example, if the third and fourth metatarsal bones are affected, pain will be felt at the right side of the fourth toe and all the way to the left side of the third tone. Symptoms are intensified if patients wear high heel shoes requiring them to walk on their toes and will often go after periods of rest.

Some patients require simple non-surgical treatments while some may need surgery:

Non-surgical treatments

  • Footwear adjustment might be all that is needed for some patients. This include wearing wide feet shoes to allow room for toes to wriggle, avoiding high heel shoes and having orthotic pads fitted into the shoe.
  • Cryotherapy uses extreme cold to destroy neuroma tissues. Through the use of liquid nitrogen, it effectively shrink tissues and inhibit blood flow to the abnormal tissues.
  • Steroid injections will deliver a burst anti-inflammatory medication directly to the area
  • Sclerosant injections delivers a mixture of alcohol and local anaesthesia to shrink blood vessels and some doctors compare the effectiveness of it to surgery

If non-surgical treatment does not help, surgery will be required. The main purpose of surgery is to make space for the affected nerves due to decompression. The surgeon will make a small incision at the top or sole of the affected foot to relieve the internal pressure. The success rates of surgery is high and long term complications are not common.

 

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

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

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

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

Warm-ups and stretching

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

Protective gears

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

Build strong muscles

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

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

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.

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.

Relationship between Gout and Joint Pain

Gout is a medical condition that can cause sudden intense painful attacks at the joints, causing swelling and redness of the joint tissues. It usually attacks the joint of the big toe but this does not rule out the attacks on other joints. Gout usually affects men with 9 out of 10 patients being men. Once gout starts to attack other joints, it leads to inflammatory arthritis. In this article, we will look at the relationship between Gout and Joint pain.

Gout happens due to an excessive accumulation of uric acid. Uric acid is formed when the body breaks down an aromatic organic compound called purines. Purines are found in foods such as livers, beans, mackerel and beer. Overconsumption of such foods will lead to a high level of purines, resulting in too much uric acid. The body’s natural mechanism of dealing with uric acid is by passing them out through urination but when this urination process is less efficient, hyperuricemia occurs, leading to gout.

Gout happens through 3 basic stages:

Asymptomatic hyperuricemia

This is the onset of gout. In this first stage, the patient starts to have an excessive accumulation of uric acid in the body but no other symptoms or problems are present. It is also in this stage that the problem can easily be reversed by significantly reducing the amount of purine-rich foods.

Acute gouty arthritis

When no actions were performed to limit the consumption of purine-rich foods, the uric acid levels will increased and lead to the formation of uric crystals in the spaces between the joint. Due to the crystals and high acidity, sudden onset of intense pain will occur and this can lead to swelling in the joints. Attacks will be infrequent and can be spaced weeks or even months apart from each, but as time passes, the attacks will become more and more common.

Chronic tophaceous gout

This stage is the most serious and will only happen after 10 years. A patient will only reach this stage when he makes no attempt to seek treatment and gout has caused a permanent damage to the joints and kidneys.

There is an exponential relationship between gout and joint pain, leading to sudden onsets of pain attack and swelling. However, reaching from one stage to the other takes time and during the periods, it can be treated by medication and reduction in consumption of purine-rich foods. Gout will cause a lot of trauma and severely affect patients.

4 Symptoms of a Hairline Fracture

Hairline fractures or stress fractures are not easily detected or felt as compared to other types of fractures. Patients may sometimes feel tenderness at the affected area coupled with some swelling. These symptoms are further amplified during activities and will reduce with rest. Hairline fractures are actually tiny cracks in a bone resulting from overuse and are frequently observed in places where repetitive loads are encountered such as the ankle. Hairline fractures often occur during high impact sports and a few factors can influence it such as the duration of exercise, frequency of exercise as well as the intensity of it. However, patients who do not participate in sports can also experience hairline fractures due to weak bones in their body. Bone diseases or osteoporosis causes a loss in bone density and places one to be more susceptible to stress fractures. In this article, we will further explore some symptoms of a hairline fracture.

Gradual pain

Pain develops gradually in patients suffering from stress fractures. As mentioned above, the pain is only present during instances of weight bearing and will go away at rest. It is different from an ankle sprain whereby pain is present throughout. In some patients with higher pain tolerances, they may not be able to feel this pain as the endorphins produced during activities can mask it, misleading the patients and result in more serious consequences.

Localised swelling

During injuries, our body’s immune system will kick in. Chemical signals are released by the brain to widen capillaries which will result in increased blood flow to the injured area. The white blood cells will then fight against any infection present. This increase in fluid causes swelling which is visible on the outside and can be relieved through the use of ice packs or anti-inflammatory medication.

Reduced pain when at rest

Another common symptom is the immediate reduction of pain experienced when at rest. This would mean that the injury sustained is not involving any muscle groups nor is it a major fracture. Patients suffering from hairline fractures will get immediate relief when they stop whatever activities they are doing.

Constant pain after continuous trauma

When patients ignore the advices of doctors to rest and choose to continue playing, their condition can worsen and there is a high risk that the stress fracture has already evolved into a complete fracture. Pain can be felt throughout even when the patient is at rest.

It only takes about 6 to 8 weeks for a hairline fracture to heal whereas a complete fracture takes around 6 months to heal. It is up to you whether you wish to sacrifice at most 2 months of your time to heal it completely or risk being out of the sport forever.

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.

Stiff Neck – An Underlying Spine Disorder?

Stiff neck causes pain and discomfort when attempting to move your neck. It is often due to injury to the soft tissues and ligaments at the neck region. It is usually accompanied by pain and soreness in the neck, shoulder and arm. Symptoms can last for quite a fair bit of time and it can be relieved using medication or a warm compress. For cases whereby the symptoms go away in a couple of days, there isn’t much of an underlying issue. Stiff neck can occur when you wake up after having slept in an awkward position for a long time. Sometimes, stiff neck can be an indication of an underlying spinal disorder.

We must first know the basic anatomy of our neck. Our neck is divided into 2 regions namely the anterior and posterior. There is a part of our spine that moves through our neck and that is the cervical spine which is effectively made up of 7 vertebrae. Any slight problems in our spine can ultimately lead to neck pain since they are interlinked. There are 2 common spinal disorders which are Cervical Herniated Disc and Neck Arthritis.

Cervical herniated disc is one of the leading causes for neck pain and indicates an injury to the cervical spine. Pain in the neck is caused by the disc pinching onto the cervical nerve, causing pain to flow down the nerve pathway down to the neck. Some patients may also experience numbness at the neck region.

Another common cause is due to cervical osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease or otherwise known as neck arthritis. Cervical osteoarthritis are characterised by the presence of bone spurs which may impinge onto a nerve. When impingement happens, the pain will radiate down the nerve onto the neck region, creating in neck pain similar to the cervical herniated disc.

It can also be due to cervical spondylosis which is another degenerative disease that is increased by previous injuries. Cervical spondylosis can result in neck pain and stiffness and is due to the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the cervical vertebrae.

There are many causes for stiff neck and it could indicate an underlying spinal disorder due to the mechanism for both neck arthritis and cervical herniated disc. The best way would be to seek a doctor immediately if you frequently encounter a stiff neck.

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!