What is Knee Arthroscopy?

Knee arthroscopy is one of the most popular medical procedures used to diagnose and repair an injured knee. Your San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor may recommend this type of surgery if your child is experiencing a lot of pain in the knee and no longer responds to nonsurgical treatments such as medication and physical therapy. This procedure is used to fix the following knee injuries: ACL/PCL tear, torn meniscus, Baker’s cyst, inflamed synovial tissue, patella problems, knee fracture, and knee sepsis.

What Happens During a Knee Arthroscopy?

If your child is healthy, the knee arthroscopy will be performed as an outpatient procedure. Your child will be put to sleep using local, regional, or general anesthesia. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon begins the procedure by making small incisions and pumping saline water to expand the knee, making it easier to see the injured joint.

A small camera—called an arthroscope—is placed inside the knee and will display real-time videos in the monitor inside the operating room so that the surgeon can determine where the problem lies and fix it. After the surgeon identifies and corrects the injury, he will drain the saline water and close the cuts with stitches.

Why Undergo a Knee Arthroscopy?

What’s great about a knee arthroscopy is that it is minimally invasive. The arthroscope is very small, which means the surgeon will have to make very small cuts compared to the larger ones made during an open surgery.

Depending on the extent of damage, the procedure will take less than an hour and your child can go home the very same day. Since an arthroscopy is less invasive, there is less pain involved, less complications, and faster recovery times. On the other hand, a traditional open knee surgery could place your young athlete out of commission for a considerable amount of time.

Preventing an ACL Injury

An ACL tear is a common enough injury among young athletes. This type of injury greatly impacts the anterior cruciate ligament located in the center of the knee. About 70% of ACL injuries happen in a non-contact situation, meaning the injuries happened without any contact against another person.

Most of the times, an ACL injury happens when a young athlete changes direction all too quickly while playing, or when landing awkwardly from a jump. The knee gives way to the sudden, unexpected pressure, causing trauma to the ACL.

Having an ACL tear can limit your child’s ability to compete at a high level; it can even be a career-ending injury. As a parent of a young athlete who leads an active lifestyle and plays sports, you can encourage them to do the following to nip an ACL injury in the bud:

Consult with a medical professional.

You can consult with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor or a sports medicine specialist to identify and work on your child’s weak muscle areas. Sports medicine professionals can also establish a training program and teach your child proper form, such as learning to pivot properly to avoid getting injured.

Do a lot of stretching.

Balance between the left and right sides of the body is important in preventing sports injuries. The imbalance will cause the body’s center of gravity to shift when landing from a jump or a pivot, and could lead to the knee injury. Doing a lot of stretching exercise will improve your child’s sense of balance and flexibility.

Implement strengthening exercises when training.

Doing a lot of squats, lunges, and plyometric exercises will give your child a lot of strength in the hips and thighs. These exercises will also develop neuromuscular conditioning and decrease the risk of an ACL injury.

Get enough rest.

Check your child’s schedule. Is it full of practice sessions, games, training, and homework? Is there enough room for rest? If not, your child will easily get tired and exhausted, causing him or her to become sloppy during games and more susceptible to injuries. Make sure your child gets plenty of rest and recovery in between competitive performances.

If a knee injury is accompanied by a loud “pop,” pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking, it is best to have it checked by an orthopedic surgeon to begin treatment as soon as possible and prevent further damage.

What is a Frozen Shoulder?

A person may have a frozen shoulder if simple activities such as scratching one’s back or pulling a book from an overhead shelf has become such a chore. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, a frozen shoulder is a disorder that causes a lot of pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion.

Frozen shoulder happens when the soft tissues in the shoulder bones become inflamed from overuse or a chronic disorder. Injuries such as tendinitis, bursitis, or a rotator cuff injury can also lead to frozen shoulder.

The inflammation causes the capsule in the shoulder joint to become fibrotic, limiting the movement of the shoulder. This condition is serious, and can lead to disability if not treated properly over time.

How is Frozen Shoulder Treated? 

First aid comes in the form of heat therapy to improve blood circulation, while ice reduces the inflammation of the affected area. Treatment usually begins by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A localized steroid injection like cortisone can also be used.

If these treatments are not helping, a San Diego orthopedic surgeon can perform surgery to loosen up the tight tissues and help speed up the healing process. There are two types of outpatient procedures to fix a frozen shoulder. The first one is closed manipulation, where the patient is put to sleep and the arm is stretched into different positions to loosen up the stiffness. The second one is called arthroscopic capsular surgery, which involves making a small incision in the shoulder joint and using an arthroscope to probe and release the tightness.

Most orthopedic doctors combine these two procedures in order to achieve the best results. After surgery, the patient is recommended to undergo physical therapy for faster recovery and to minimize the chances of the frozen shoulder from reoccurring.