1. What is Orthopaedics?

Orthopedics is a medical specialty focusing on the diagnosis, correction, prevention and treatment of patients with disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. These parts of the body make up the musculoskeletal system.

2. How can I avoid orthopaedic issues?

Bones are the support system of the body, so it’s important to keep them healthy and strong. Consuming enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet is vital to ensuring strong and healthy bones. Regular exercise is another important step in your control to maintain bone health. Exercise will also help you avoid orthopaedic issues in the future. Keeping caffeine and alcohol intake low also supports healthy bones. Avoiding smoking is another key factor in maintaining bone health.

3. What is arthritis?

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. A joint is an area of the body where two bones meet. Cartilage is the connective tissue in our joints. Cartilage protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock when we move. Arthritis can occur when cartilage erodes causing stiff, weak and painful joints. Although there are over 100 different types of arthritis, the two most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

4. What causes arthritis?

Causes of arthritis vary depending on the type. Causes can include injury, metabolic abnormalities, hereditary factors, infections and autoimmune disorders. OA is caused by normal wear and tear of the joints. RA is an autoimmune disorder and occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body.

What causes shoulder pain?

5. What causes shoulder pain?

Another very common orthopaedic complaint is shoulder pain. Often the source of that pain is a torn rotator cuff. The two main causes of rotator cuff tears are injury and degeneration. You can further damage your rotator cuff with continued use after a tear. If you are experiencing chronic shoulder or arm pain, it’s best to visit your orthopaedic specialist. For the majority of patients, an orthopaedic doctor will provide non-surgical treatment, such as physical therapy or steroid injections, to ease pain and improve function in your shoulder.

6. When should I ice an injury?

Generally, ice should be used within the first 24-48 hours of an injury to reduce swelling and pain. After an injury, following the PRICE protocol: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Never use ice directly on the skin. Depending on the area of the injury, ice should be used for 10 to 20 minutes. The thicker the tissue of the injured area, the longer the application time. Knee injuries typically require 15 minutes of icing, while areas with more musculature, such as the quadriceps and hamstrings, require 20 minutes. Thinner tissue, such as ankles and feet, requires only 10 minutes.

7. When should I heat an injury?

Heat is generally used for muscle pain or stiffness. Never apply heat when swelling or inflammation is present. Minor stiffness or tension can usually be relieved after 15 to 20 minutes of direct heat, such as a heating pad. Longer periods of direct heat such as a warm bath can help relieve moderate to severe pain. Heat can also be used to warm up muscles before any physical activity.

8. What is carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness, tingling and weakness in your hands, wrists and occasionally arms. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome can worsen over time, so it’s important to visit your orthopaedic hand specialist soon after symptoms occur.

What is carpal tunnel?

9. What causes carpal tunnel?

In many cases, there is no single cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, there are several risk factors that may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome. Conditions that cause continuous pressure on the nerves – such as obesity or repetitive motion – can be significant risk factors for carpal tunnel. Inflammatory conditions can also play a role. An orthopaedic doctor may be able to help relieve symptoms early on with a wrist splint or by limiting certain activities.

10. What causes knee pain?

Knee pain is another common orthopaedic issue that affects people of all ages. Knee pain is generally the result of either injury or inflammation. The knee is one of the joints most prone to injury, which may result in acute pain. Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can cause chronic knee pain. Your orthopaedic specialist may recommend knee braces or physical therapy, which can often relieve the symptoms. Some cases may require more aggressive treatment such as injections or surgery to correct a mechanical breakdown of the knee.

Learn more about orthopaedics from Orthoinfo.org.