Some Smart Ways to Avoid Knee Pain

Knee pain isn’t just for senior citizens or avid athletes. It can strike anyone, at any age. Although knee pain is usually associated with arthritis or injury, any repetitive movement can create lasting pain, impeding your ability to live a comfortable life.

Orthopedic surgeons like me are often called in to fix the problem once it has grown chronic or acute, but you can do a lot more before you ever reach out to the doctor. This page offers some good tips on how to avoid knee pain without too much stress or inconvenience, including simple stretches like this:

Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you, and then bring your left foot toward your butt. Drop your left knee out to the side as you place the sole of your left foot in your right inner thigh. Then, bend at the waist and slowly fold forward, reaching your hands toward your toes. Stay here for 1 to 2 minutes, and then switch sides.

Staying active is helpful too, as is taking the time to rest when pain grows more intense during and after vigorous activity. And if your knee pain becomes a constant thorn in your side, visit the best orthopedic surgeon in San Diego for a comprehensive workup.

Call today to get started.

When To Use Cortisone For Joint Pain

Cortisone is a miraculous medication, one which can diminish chronic pain and restore a freer range of motion within minutes. But as chronic elbow pain sufferers will tell you, that relief may be short-lived, and can exact its own price over time.

Cortisone is a steroid, which means it can activate some of the body’s most powerful signaling mechanisms for healing. These can be especially effective for joint pain, including elbow pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and wrist pain, as well as specific diagnoses including bursitis and arthritis.

But cortisone’s power cuts both ways, and may eventually deteriorate the treated joint, by diminishing bone density and thinning soft tissues. Consequently many orthopedic surgeons such as myself use the shots sparingly, and always in concert with a more holistic rehabilitation effort which includes exercise, stretching, and restful recovery.

Bottom line: cortisone is a perfect example of short-term benefit, long-term harm. If you’re looking for a lasting solution to joint pain which won’t hamper your chances for a more lasting recovery, it’s wise to consider lifestyle changes and orthopedic surgery instead.

What To Do About Chronic Elbow Pain in San Diego

Part of my job as a San Diego elbow pain doctor requires constantly reviewing the latest literature on how and when to escalate cases of elbow pain into surgery. So I read this recent article with interest, as it describes a medical case presentation of the type we typically get on rounds as attending physicians:

A 42-year-old man with a history of metastatic lung cancer on chemotherapy and daily steroid therapy presented to the ED with right elbow pain. The pain had begun the day before, and the patient denied history of trauma, overuse, or increased time or pressure on his elbows. His review of systems was otherwise unrevealing.

In this case a deeper diagnostic look yielded a definitive cause: Septic Olecranon Bursitis, which is an infection of the fluid-filled sac that rests just behind the joint of the elbow. The “septic” part is the infection – brown liquid suggesting that bacteria had found their way into the fluid, causing swelling, pain and discomfort. This is not unexpected for a patient on chemotherapy, which can wallop the immune system and result in unusual sites of infection.

The article recommends antibiotics and drainage as first measures, but eventually discusses when elbow surgery may be a good idea:

Surgery or repeated drainage may be considered if the patient does not respond to conservative management. Surgical management as a first-line therapy is less likely to be successful and more likely to be associated with complications such as the creation of a chronic sinus tract when compared with aspiration.

For conservative elbow pain management and treatment, and the best elbow surgery in San Diego, contact AOSM for an appointment today.

A Case Study in Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a terrible affliction which can cause decentralized pain. Recently the Huffington Post published a first-person account of living with fibromyalgia, including some harrowing descriptions of what it was like to endure this disease before it had a name:

“I would get a lot of pain, and try not to do things that would make the pain worse. People would yell at me and say, ‘Oh, come on, you can do it.’ So I tried playing tennis, and sooner or later, I pulled something in my shoulder and my elbow.

The pain got worse and worse, and in 1978, I had my first operation on my elbow.

Then the other elbow went. Then the other shoulder. And then the groin.

After each surgery, I did nothing. No movement, no physical therapy. So during ‘recovery’, my condition just got worse.

It is a worthy article to read if you want to recognize yourself or a loved one in these accounts. And it is also a strong message in favor of seeking early diagnosis, and not being satisfied with useless diagnoses until you actually see results. As the author emphasizes:

One tip Marshall has for people diagnosed with Fibromyalgia is that they understand this is probably for the rest of their lives. And so, putting off getting to it isn’t going to buy you anything.

To learn more about how to combat wrist pain, shoulder pain, and elbow pain in San Diego, please contact the San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon site here today.

What Is Shoulder Bursitis?

The bursa in your body act almost like rollers or ball bearings: these fluid-filled sacs can shift and deform easily, thus reducing stress on bone surfaces which would otherwise create friction as they grind together.

The bursa in your shoulder do this on a daily basis, enabling the full range of motion you have come to expect. Lifting, throwing, and reaching all require an assist from your shoulder bursa; without them, even the most basic movements can become excruciatingly painful.

When those bursa become inflamed, it’s known as bursitis. (“-Itis” refers to any inflammation or irritation). This inflammation may arise as a result of disease, trauma, or injury. The key diagnostic feature is the pain it causes: shoulder bursitis can be debilitating, robbing us of the most elemental sort of mobility.

Most bursitis can be treated with rest, steroids, or with aspiration of the fluid itself. More extreme cases may require shoulder surgery, as performed by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder and arm conditions such as this.

As a top San Diego orthopedic surgeon, I offer comprehensive treatment and recovery options for patients with shoulder bursitis, shoulder pain, and related conditions. Please reach out today to schedule your own appointment with the experts.

How to Help Kids Get Through Surgery

As a pediatric orthopedist here in San Diego, I spend a fair amount of time diagnosing and treating kids. One of the most common concerns I hear from parents is whether their children will be able to get through a surgical procedure without undue anxiety or trauma.

The answer to that concern has gotten increasingly easy over the years, as developing technologies have placed an expanding catalog of distractions into the hands of patients. Video screens, touch screens, and all manner of interactive apps are helping kids get their minds off their medical procedures these days, and into a more contented flow.

As this article outlines, the result is a growing number of fear-free operations, including some unorthodox bonding in the O.R.:

Rodriguez switches the movie from “Ninjago” over to one he’s designed and edited himself. It’s a compilation of clips from NASA, Buzz Lightyear and Minions, which together create a full blastoff experience. The idea is for the child to feel like they’re taking a trip to the moon instead of going under for surgery.

“Let’s get our space monitors! We’ve got our space masks right now,” said Rodriguez excitedly as he placed the anesthesia mask over Matthew’s face. “All right let’s get ready for our countdown!”

My San Diego pediatric orthopedic practice offers kids a variety of ways to enjoy their time with us, and emerge emotionally unscathed. Add to this our sterling commitment to the very best medical care for childhood injuries and diseases, and it’s no wonder so many parents trust us with their kids.

A Pediatric Orthopedist Lists the Most Common Sports Injuries in Kids

Kids who play sports subject their bodies to a number of bangs and stresses which were usually designed for adult athletes to endure. This gap, between the biomechanics of sports and the bodies that perform them, can lead to musculoskeletal injuries in young people that are far less common in adults.

Below I have listed some of the major categories of sports injuries to watch out for.

Repetitive Motion Injuries

Repetitive motion is just what it sounds like: something you do over and over in roughly the same way. Many sports require repetitive motions such as pitching, swinging a tennis racket, or kicking a ball, and the stresses introduced by these motions can accumulate over time, leading to bone spurs, strained muscles, and damaged cartilage.

Injuries to the Growth Plate

The primary difference between a child’s bones and an adult’s bones is that the child’s bones are still growing. Breaks and sprains are painful but rarely permanent, but injuries to the growth plates which regulate the lengthening of your child’s bones can be serious. Long bones which are still extending can be stopped in their tracks, requiring an intervention from a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

Heat and Exhaustion

Many young athletes push themselves beyond what is appropriate or tolerable, especially as the weight of competition begins to make itself known. Frequent rest, hydration and cooling periods are essential, especially if your kid is engaged in a sport with full-body equipment or summer hours.

What causes all these injuries? Focused activity and poor training, mostly, but this list offers a good rubric for parents and coaches who want to eliminate all of the other potential risks first:

  • Sport specialization at a young age
  • Imbalance of strength or joint range of motion
  • Anatomic malalignment
  • Improper footwear
  • Pre-existing condition
  • Growth cartilage less resistant to repetitive microtrauma
  • Intense, repetitive training during periods of growth

For the best pediatric orthopedist in San Diego, just reach out to AOSM anytime.

The Stages of Frozen Shoulder

Frozen shoulder is among the more sinister maladies of orthopedic medicine: a slow-moving intruder that can catch many patients off-guard as its symptoms gradually grow more severe.

But it’s important to know that frozen shoulder isn’t a life sentence; most cases tend to “thaw” over time on their own, following a well-known, if agonizingly slow, timetable.

Harvard Health recently outlined the entire cycle for curious patients, describing what happens around a year after the initial onset as the shoulder begins to regain some mobility:

Stiffness goes away as the shoulder begins to heal. This is when you begin stretching exercises and formal therapy to help restore flexibility and range of motion. Typically, a therapist teaches you the exercises, which you then do at home for several weeks or months.

The keys are rest and gentle therapy, as well as a good consultation with an expert orthopedic surgeon to see if you can uncover any distal causes of the disorder. The other key: pain management, through a combination of medicine and exercise, as suits your needs.

For the best treatment of frozen shoulder in San Diego, call or email AOSM here today.

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) As An Alternative to Shoulder Surgery

We orthopedic surgeons have made great strides in recent decades in our quest to reduce the recovery time associated with shoulder surgery. Earlier procedures were considered highly invasive, while today’s arthroscopic tools and therapeutic measures have made the recovery process for easier for everyone involved.

But what if you could forgo surgery altogether, and simply accelerate your body’s natural healing mechanisms? This is the goal behind platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, a procedure which involves injecting concentrated blood cells at the site of an injury to promote faster healing:

The procedure involves collecting several ounces of blood from a patient’s arm, spinning the blood in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets and injecting the concentrated platelets into the injury site to stimulate healing. Platelets, the blood cells that promote clotting, contain hundreds of proteins, called growth factors, that are important in repairing injuries.

PRP has been used to some good effect in shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and assorted orthopedic twists and tears. The jury is still out on whether it works for everyone all the time, but plenty of anecdotal accounts such as this one suggest many patients are pleased with the results.

The American Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center here in San Diego offers the latest and most effective treatments for shoulder pain, knee pain, and a variety of orthopedic complaints. Call us today to learn more.

Further Useful Information on Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow isn’t just for tennis players, or even athletes for that matter. It’s not just for day laborers or bodybuilders either.

Tennis elbow can strike anyone, and can turn quotidian tasks into formidable challenges. Many people who suffer from lateral epicondylitis (medical name) find themselves struggling with very basic things that the rest of us take for granted:

It often gets worse when people lift or bend their arm, grip small objects, such as a pen or when twisting the forearm – such as turning a door handle.

It’s true: you can become trapped in a room with a heavy door if your tennis elbow prohibits a strong pulling motion.

The key to avoiding any repetitive stress injury such as this one is to stem the activity that’s causing it – or mix it up. If you’re lifting things all day, switch hands, or adjust your posture. If you’re playing sports, try a different way, or take more frequent breaks to stretch and adjust while you practice.

And if you have chronic elbow pain in San Diego and want to visit the best orthopedist for tennis elbow? Contact the American Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Center today.