Thursday, April 27, 2017

How Osteoporosis Affects the Bones of the Hip


Osteoporosis is a condition that decreases bone integrity and strength. Most common in aging men and women, one the first—and only—signs that osteoporosis is present is a fractured hip. In order to learn more, let’s go over some osteoporosis-related  physiology and anatomy, causes, symptoms, and preventative measures.

Related Physiology

Bones are made up of an intricate combination of elastic fibers and hard minerals. Because bone is living tissue, it’s constantly breaking down and reforming. From birth to around age 30, bone reformation occurs at a greater rate than the breakdown of bone.  However, from age 30 and onward, bone reformation equals or is less than bone breakdown.  Because of this, osteoporosis (the weakening of bone), can develop.


Illustration 1- Healthy vs. osteoporotic bone

Causes and Symptoms

Osteoporosis can occur at any time, but its associated signs and symptoms (mainly a fractured hip or spinal vertebrae) don't show up until the bone has reached the point where it's fragile and weak. People most at risk are:

·      Post-menopausal women
·      Individuals with a family history of osteoporosis
·      Underweight individuals
·      Overweight individuals
·      Individuals who have taken corticosteroids for a prolonged period of time (>3 months)

Once osteoporosis has reached the point where it causes a hip fracture, treating the disease, which is in its final stages, is difficult. Thus, preventative measures, should be taken early in the early stages.

Osteoporosis-Related Hip Fractures

The hip is a ball and socket joint composed of the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. It’s one of the body’s largest joints and an important supporting structure. Osteoporosis can cause the femur and/or pelvis to fracture, which disrupts the integrity of the joint. If patients are healthy enough, surgical intervention is used to restore anatomy and function.


Illustration 2- The hip and lower back are the most common areas affected by osteoporosis

Prevention

Prevention of osteoporosis should occur as early as possible. Proper diet and a balanced, healthy lifestyle are the easiest and most effective measures. Consuming a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is recommended. As is resistance (weight training) and non-resistance (jogging, cycling, playing sports, etc.) exercise.

Learning More

The best resource for learning more about preventing and treating osteoporosis is an orthopedic specialist. Their knowledge, training, and skills are used to educate patients and, if necessary, repair fractures. If you or someone you know wants to talk to a specialist, please contact our offices in St. Peters or O'Fallon. Making an appointment is easier than ever—we’ll get you in ASAP.


Understanding the Knee: Runner’s and Jumper’s Knee


Runner’s or jumper’s knee are condition that commonly occurs in young, active individuals. Both can be categorized into a larger set of injuries that effect the patellar tendon and cause what is known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). In order to learn more about these conditions, let’s discuss related anatomy, symptoms, causes and treatments.
                 
Related Anatomy

The patella, or kneecap, is the bone that covers and protects the knee joint. It’s attached to the femur by the quadriceps tendon and the tibia by the patella tendon.


Illustration 1- The quadriceps and patella tendon

A small fat pad is located underneath the patella and soft tissue and bone surround it. When the fat pad, tendons, tissues, or bones associated with the patella are overused, a patient is said to have runner’s/jumper’s knee.

Symptoms

A dull, aching pain around the front of the knee is the most common symptom of runner’s or jumper’s knee. This pain usually gets worse with increased physical activity. When left untreated, pain can reach the point where an affected patient might have to stop physical activity.

Causes

Runner’s or jumper’s knee is most caused by overuse or improper form when training, such as not properly warming up or muscular imbalance when running or changing direction. Athletes or active individuals most susceptible to the condition are those that:

·      Wear improper athletic equipment (especially worn out shoes)
·      Do not rest properly
·      Increase the frequency and/or intensity of training regimens too quickly
·      Abruptly switch training programs
·      Are involved in sports and/or activities that involve squatting, running and jumping

Once the has been diagnosed by an orthopedic specialist, a relatively simple, straight-forward treatment program is prescribed.

Treatments

Runner’s or jumper’s knee are most often treated using non-surgical options. The following are the most common:

1.    Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping sports/activities that cause pain gives the knee a chance to heal. Once pain goes away, sports/activities can be resumed.

2.    Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Like ice, NSAIDs calm down inflammation and decrease pain.

3.    Physical Therapy. Stretching and strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the knee decrease pain and prevent future injuries.

Any, any combination, or all of these treatment options can be prescribed by an orthopedic specialist.

In rare instances, surgery may benefit patients with PFPS or associated injuries.  This type of surgery is typically performed arthroscopically with patients returning home the same day as their procedure.

Contacting an Orthopedic Specialist

If you’re experiencing knee pain that won’t go away, you might have runner’s or jumper’s knee that’s needs to be professionally treated. Please contact our offices in St. Peters or O'Fallon to arrange an appointment with one our orthopedic specialists. The road to recovery begins when you walk through our doors.

Everything You Need to Know About How Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is Treated


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a non-injury related condition that affects the wrist, hand, and fingers.

The most common symptoms are:

·      Tingling
·      Numbness
·      Shooting pain

Should you be experiencing any of these, numerous effective treatment options are available.

Before diving into them, it’s important to go over some anatomy.

CTS Related Anatomy

On its way to the fingers, the median nerve runs under the carpal ligament. When the gap (referred to as the carpal tunnel) between the ligament and nerve narrows, the nerve is compressed and the above-mentioned symptoms occur.


Illustration 1- A compressed median nerve

Numerous Treatment Options Are Available

The goal of treatment is to decompress the nerve and reduce irritation.

Non-surgical treatment is always tried first. The most common options are:

1.     Bracing. Wrist immobilization decompresses the nerve, decreases irritation, and relieves symptoms.

2.     Rest. A break in job or leisure activities that cause symptom flare-ups can slow or stop the progression of CTS.

3.     Steroid injections. Immediate symptom relief can occur following steroid injections. Injections spaced out over periods of three or more months can greatly reduce or even stop symptoms.

When non-surgical options aren't effective, surgical intervention might be necessary.

A carpal tunnel release (CTR) is a procedure that uses a small incision to view and then trim or resect the carpal ligament which, in turn, decompresses the nerve. The procedure is short—usually between 15-30 minutes—and patients are allowed to go home a few hours after. Symptom relief can occur in as little as 2-3 days and last indefinitely.

Orthopedic Specialists Treat CTS

An Orthopedic Hand Specialist is the best and most qualified medical professional to treat CTS. Their training and experience allow them to diagnose the condition and come up with an effective treatment plan. The symptoms of CTS can and will be reduced or eliminated when the condition is treated by an orthopedic specialist.