Education

Do you have a question about a possible injury? Here are several common orthopedic injuries that our patients face, along with some information on diagnosing and treating. For more detailed information or to make an appointment, feel free to contact us!

MENISCUS TEAR

Meniscus TearThe knee joint has a medial and lateral meniscus that act as a cushion between your tibia and femur. They also play an important role in joint stability, lubrication and force transmission. A meniscus injury can occur with twisting motions or tackling in sports like football. Over time, cartilage degenerates, and in older people just awkwardly twisting a knee when getting up can cause a meniscus tear. Meniscus tears can happen alone, or in conjunction with other knee injuries like ACL tears.


Diagnostics:  A meniscus tear is diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with an MRI. During the physical exam the doctor will palpate your knee, and medial or lateral joint line tenderness is consistent with a meniscus tear. Also, the doctor will bend and twist your leg at the knee to see if this action replicates the pain by stressing the meniscus. An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your knee.


Treatments:  Meniscus injuries can be treated non-operatively and operatively, depending on the patient’s symptoms. Non operative treatments include rest, ice, oral anti-inflammatories, elevation, compression and physical therapy. Operative treatment of meniscus tears include arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the meniscus or shave away part of the meniscus that is causing catching, locking, giving way, or severe pain in the knee.

ACL (ANTERIOR CRUCIAL LIGAMENT) TEAR

ACL TEARThe ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament, is a structure in the knee that connects the tibia to the femur and provides stability for the knee joint. ACL tears occur with trauma with twisting motions, stopping suddenly, or landing incorrectly after jumping. Tears can be complete or partial. Patients often hear or feel a large pop when this injury occurs, often with immediate pain, swelling and knee instability.


Diagnostics:  An ACL tear is diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with an MRI. During the physical exam, the doctor will test the structures of the knee and compare them to the non-injured knee. The diagnosis is confirmed with an MRI which is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your knee.


Treatments:  The ACL cannot repair on its own and usually must be surgically repaired with arthroscopic knee surgery. A cadaver anterior tibialis tendon is used to act as an ACL. Your doctor will prescribe physical therapy before and after surgery to work on range of motion and strength of your knee and muscles.

KNEE CARTILAGE DEFECTS
Cartilage defects of the knee can occur from trauma, overuse, or from degenerative joint disease (arthritis). The surfaces of the joint are covered in a layer of cartilage that provides cushioning. When the cartilage surfaces are disrupted from trauma, overuse or arthritis, the result is pain and limited range of motion.


Diagnostics:  Knee cartilage defects are diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with x-rays and sometimes an MRI. During the physical exam, the doctor will assess for range of motion along with tenderness with palpation. An x-ray shows narrowing or disruptions in the joint space. An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your knee.


Treatments:  Cartilage defects can be treated with non-operative and operative treatments. Non-operative treatments include oral anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, and physical therapy. Operative treatments include arthroscopic knee surgery to perform a chondroplasty to smooth out the cartilage surfaces of the knee joint. A total knee replacement may be indicated when all other treatments have failed, and the knee joint is replaced with a prosthesis.

CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME

Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes pain, weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that the main nerve (the median nerve) to the hand passes through along with the tendons of the hand. With repetitive activities of the wrist, the nerve can become compressed and therefore send limited signals to the hand. This results in tingling of the thumb, index and middle finger, and eventually leads to pain and weakness with gripping.


Diagnostics:  Carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed with a physical exam. The doctor will assess for nerve function and muscle atrophy.


Treatments:  Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with non-operative and operative treatments. Non-operative treatments include physical therapy, night splints, and steroid injections. If these treatments do not relieve symptoms, the operative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is a carpal tunnel release. The carpal tunnel is released through a small incision to relieve pressure on the median nerve.

TRIGGER FINGER

trigger fingerA trigger finger is a condition where a finger gets stuck in the flexed (bent) position. This occurs when the tendon that helps the finger move becomes inflamed and cannot glide through the sheath of the tendon.


Diagnostics:  A trigger finger can be diagnosed upon physical exam. The doctor will ask you to open and close your hand and feel your palm for a lump that is the inflammation of the tendon.


Treatments:  Trigger fingers can be treated with non-operative and operative options. Non-operative treatments include steroid injections. Operative treatment includes releasing the tendon sheath through a small incision in the palm that can usually be performed in the office.

ROTATOR CUFF TEAR

Rotator Cuff TearThe rotator cuff consists of four muscles that surround the shoulder for strength, stability and allows for range of motion of the shoulder joint. The four muscles are the infraspinatus, supraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. A rotator cuff tear involves tearing of any or all of these four muscles. A tear usually occurs after trauma from a fall, moving a heavy object, etc. Tears can be partial or full thickness tears.


Diagnostics:  Rotator cuff tears are diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with an MRI. The physical exam consists of the doctor having you do specific motions with your arm while assessing the strength, pain and range of motion during these movements. An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your shoulder.


Treatments:  Rotator cuff tears can be treated operatively and non-operatively, depending on the severity of the tear and the symptoms the patient is having. Non operative treatments include physical therapy, oral anti-inflammatories, icing and steroid injections. Operative treatment consists of arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair the rotator cuff tear.

SHOULDER CARTILAGE DEFECTS

Cartilage defects of the shoulder can occur from trauma, overuse, or from degenerative joint disease (arthritis). The surfaces of the joint are covered in a layer of cartilage that provides cushioning. When the cartilage surfaces are disrupted from trauma, overuse or arthritis, the result is pain and limited range of motion.


Diagnostics:  Shoulder cartilage defects are diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with x-rays and sometimes an MRI. During the physical exam, the doctor will assess for range of motion along with tenderness with palpation. An x-ray shows narrowing or disruptions in the joint space. An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your shoulder.


Treatments:  Cartilage defects can be treated with non-operative and operative treatments. Non-operative treatments include oral anti-inflammatories, steroid injections, platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, and physical therapy. Operative treatments include arthroscopic shoulder surgery to perform a chondroplasty to smooth out the cartilage surfaces of the shoulder joints. A total shoulder replacement may be indicated when all other treatments have failed, and the shoulder joint is replaced with a prosthesis.

LABRAL TEAR

Labral TearThe labrum is a piece of cartilage that acts like a cup for the ball of your shoulder joint (head of the humerus) to sit in. An injury to the labrum usually occurs such as falling on an outstretched arm, falling on your shoulder, dislocating your shoulder, etc. The labrum can fray, or it can completely tear. Fraying can cause impingement in the shoulder joint, and symptoms include pain, catching or popping.

 

Diagnostics: Labral tears are diagnosed with a physical exam in combination with an MRI. The physical exam consists of the doctor having you do specific motions with your arms while assessing for pain with certain movements. An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that is performed using magnetic waves to create a highly detailed image of your shoulder.


Treatments: Labral tears can be treated non-operatively and operatively, depending on the severity of the tear and the symptoms the patient is having. Non operative treatments include physical therapy, icing, and oral anti-inflammatories. Surgical treatment includes arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair the labrum, or shave away pieces of the labrum that are causing impingement.