Dealing with Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

Ever wondered why you feel a lot of tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in your hand? Do you feel that your grip has weakened? You could be suffering from cubital tunnel syndrome, a hand injury that involves increased pressure of the ulnar nerve. This nerve is the one responsible for giving sensation to your ring and little finger, and helps you create a strong hand grip.

This medical condition is the lesser known relative of the carpal tunnel syndrome, but can be just as devastating. It can develop from repetitive motions such as leaning on one’s elbow or sleeping with a hand under a pillow for an extended period of time. Any physical activity that involves pressure on the ulnar nerve can develop into a cubital tunnel syndrome.

Other factors that could lead to cubital tunnel syndrome are prior fracture and bone spurs to the elbow, as well as any activities that require the elbow to be flexed or bent for a very long time.

Treating Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

The symptoms will come and go initially, but could become persistent over time if it remains untreated. For the most part, the cubital tunnel syndrome can be managed using conservative treatments. Once a diagnosis has been made, a San Diego orthopedic doctor will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the swelling. You can also prevent things from worsening by wearing protective elbow pad or a splint while sleeping to keep the elbow in a straight position. Nerve-gliding exercises can also be done to stretch and encourage movement within the cubital tunnel.

If any of these nonsurgical treatments do not work out, your doctor may consider outpatient surgeries such as a cubital tunnel release that aims to decrease the pressure on the ulnar nerve.

Dealing with Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis dissecans is a medical condition in which the bone and cartilage loses the blood supply that enables them to function properly. This usually happens to boys between 9 to 18 years of age that are active in sports. This joint disease usually affects a boy’s knees, but it can affect the elbows and ankles as well.


Symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans include pain, soreness, stiffness, locking of the joint, and limited range of joint movement. The pain usually flares up after an intense physical activity. Those that are at a higher risk for osteochondritis dissecans are football, basketball, and soccer players.

For most children, the pain fades away and the bone will heal on its own by having plenty of rest and protecting the knee with splint, cast, or braces. Physical therapy can also be implemented to strengthen the bone joint. Your child can return to normal activities as symptoms improve over time.


However, if your child’s joint pain remains persistent and does not go away, you should seek professional medical attention. The symptoms of osteochondritis dissecans are quite similar to other bone and joint diseases so it is important to establish an accurate diagnosis as well as implement the right treatment plan.

Initial treatment for OCD usually begins with the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. A cast or a brace may be used to strengthen the joint and weight-bearing exercises may be implemented. However, if these do not work, surgical intervention may be needed to improve the outcome.

A patient suffering from severe osteochondritis dissecans can be treated with arthroscopy to remove the problematic cartilage from the joint. Another option is drilling the bone lesion to create new pathways for the blood vessels to flow. A graft can also be done to replace the damaged joint with a new bone and cartilage.

How to Treat a Gymnast Wrist

Gymnastics is a great sport that will improve your child’s physical development especially in the areas of strength, flexibility, and agility. Unfortunately, the sport can also challenge and stress your child’s body. Most gymnasts are required to put a lot of weight on their wrist joints, which means there is great potential for injury. If you have a child gymnast, you should watch out for a hand injury called the gymnast wrist.

Also called a distal radial epiphysitis, the gymnast wrist is a type of chronic pain that occurs on the growth plate connected at the radius bone near the wrist. Because the growth plate is softer, it is more susceptible to injury than mature bone. The injury usually appears whenever a young gymnast goes through an increased intensity of gymnastic activities, such as when he or she progresses through a higher level of competition.

Symptoms and Treatments for Your Child’s Gymnast Wrist

The most common symptom of a gymnast wrist is pain, usually located on the thumb side. Mild swelling and decreased range of motion can also be felt. Once a diagnosis is made, treatment for a gymnast wrist begins with rest from doing high-impact activities. Ice and anti-inflammatory medicine will then be prescribed by your San Diego orthopedic doctor. If the pain does not subside, corticosteroid injections can also be done. Surgical alternatives will be looked into if these do not correct the wrist impairment.

Once the inflammation has subsided and your young athlete has been cleared by your doctor, he or she can resume activities slowly and gradually to maintain mobility and upper extremity strength. A wrist brace may be worn to reduce the stress on the hand during tumbling and vaulting motions. Incorporating exercises that strengthen the upper body will also help.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Is your child having difficulty getting in and out of cars, and experiencing knee pain in the morning? He or she may have knee osteoarthritis. Most people associate osteoarthritis with old age, but it can affect young people, too. Knee osteoarthritis can happen due to injury, infection, and hereditary reasons. Other factors such as excess weight and repetitive stress injuries come into play as well.

Osteoarthritis is a medical condition in which the natural cushioning of the knee joints becomes weak, resulting to the knee’s bones rubbing closely together during movement. This leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and development of bone spurs.

Treatment Plan

In order to set your child on the way to recovery, it is always best to get an early diagnosis from a San Diego orthopedic doctor. Once your child has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis, a treatment plan will be implemented that includes pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. Corticosteroid and hyaluronic acid may also be injected to relieve the pain.

Surgical Options

The doctor may also advise your kid to lose weight to reduce the strain on the knee and to incorporate low-impact exercise to strengthen muscles while avoiding the possibility of aggravating the injury. If these conservative treatments do not work, there are surgical options that may be considered to prevent the osteoarthritis from progressing.

Osteotomy is a procedure in which the knee bones are modified to control the damage. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure where the orthopedic surgeon will make an incision and insert a small camera that will repair the damaged parts. Arthroplasty is a last resort and will only be considered on severe cases of osteoarthritis. It involves a total bone replacement in which the bad joint is replaced by a plastic and metal device.

Treatment for a Torn Meniscus

When left to their own devices, most children run around with abandon, increasing their chances of getting a torn meniscus whenever they make sudden stops and turns or accidentally twist or rotate their knee. The risk for this type of knee injury is especially high for young athletes who participate in sports that involve plenty of pivoting motions like tennis and basketball.

A torn meniscus leads to a persistent knee pain and can even lead to osteoarthristis in the later stages. At the time of injury, a loud popping sound will be heard, followed by swelling and pain afterwards. A “locking” sensation where the knee cannot fully extend or straighten can also be felt at times. There is also the possibility that the knee will give way at times and will not be able to support your child’s weight.

Conservative Treatments

The meniscus is a cartilage that serves as a cushion between the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia). If the meniscus is injured, conservative treatments such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical rehabilitation can be done to give the knee plenty of time to heal on its own.

Pain and swelling will go away in a matter of days; however, full recovery requires a long-term commitment to ensure that the muscles surrounding the knee grows strong. To return the knee to its normal function, your child will need to maintain his or her ideal body weight and avoid activities that can aggravate the tear.

Surgical Intervention

If these initial treatments do not heal the tear, an arthroscopy will be done by a San Diego orthopedic doctor to repair or remove the damaged cartilage. This is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure done to repair the meniscus tear, and has a faster rehabilitation and better outcome than a traditional open surgery.

Is a Minimally Invasive Knee Surgery the Right Treatment for Your Kid?

If your child injures a knee and requires surgery, the doctor may advise you to either go for a traditionally open surgery or a minimally invasive one. Going for the traditional open surgery route means having a long vertical incision made at the center of the knee so that the surgeon can view and repair the injured joint.

The minimally invasive knee surgery is quite similar in theory, but there is less tissue cutting involved. The procedure involves smaller incision and lesser blood loss. It is less invasive than traditional open surgery, so there is less tissue disruption and reduced post-operative pain. It also means a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery times for your child so that he or she can resume everyday activities sooner than later.

Minimally Invasive Surgery Risks

A minimally invasive surgery does not mean it is not without its own set of risks. This medical procedure is done with the use of an arthroscope, a small camera that is inserted into the small incision made by the surgeon. The camera allows the surgeon to see the inside of the knee in greater detail and fix the problem using the small instruments from the arthroscope. Since the incision is much smaller than a traditional open surgery, the surgeon has a limited view of the joint which makes the procedure more challenging and can lead to a longer time on the operating table.

If your child is going under the knife for a minimally invasive procedure, you need to go to a highly recommended and highly skilled San Diego orthopedic doctor to get this done. The doctor will weigh in all the options available and determine if an arthroscopic surgery is indeed the best choice for your child.

Treatment for Frozen Shoulder

Do you feel a persistent pain or stiffness in your shoulder? This could be due to a frozen shoulder. The shoulder is made up of three bones: the upper arm (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle). The humerus fits into a socket and is surrounded by synovial fluid that allows the joint to move without friction. Sometimes, a scar tissue will begin to form in the shoulders, causing the capsule to become too thick and tight. There is less lubrication which makes it hard for the shoulders to move.

Why a Frozen Shoulder Happens

Frozen shoulders frequently happen to people who have recently experienced a shoulder injury or fracture. Other risk factors include being more than 40 years old, being a woman, and having diabetes.

There are 3 stages to a frozen shoulder. The freezing stage is where the pain gradually increases, and most sufferers will have a hard time sleeping at night because of the pain. The next stage is the frozen stage where the pain will no longer worsen but the shoulders will remain stiff. The thawing stage is where the pain will slowly fade away and the shoulder will return to normal.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Once you have been diagnosed by a San Diego orthopedic doctor, you will be given a treatment program based on the stage of your condition and the severity of your pain. It is worth noting that with a frozen shoulder, recovery is slow and may take some time. The initial stage is always the worst in terms of pain, so treatment is mainly focused on relieving it.

The orthopedic doctor may prescribe paracetamol and even give corticosteroid injections if the pain becomes too much to bear. Physical therapy such as stretching and gentle exercises can also be implemented to keep the shoulder mobile and improve the shoulder’s condition.

The 3 Types of Shoulder Fractures

Most people think that the shoulder is made up of only one bone when in fact, it is made up of three types of bones: the collarbone (clavicle), the humerus (upper arm bone), and the shoulder blade (scapula). If any of these three bones get fractured, pain, swelling, tenderness, and a limited range of motion will be experienced by the injured person.

The shoulder fracture can either be displaced or non-displaced. Most fractures are non-displaced, meaning the bone is separated but are still aligned and have not moved from their original position. If the shoulder had been displaced, the bones on opposite sides of the joint are no longer aligned.

Clavicle Fracture

The clavicle is the bone that serves as the connection between the shoulder blade and breastplate. This is the most common shoulder fracture experienced by children, frequently resulting from a fall, direct trauma, or contact sports. The fracture causes the shoulder to sag downwards and is accompanied by a bump, which is the prominent end of the fracture under the skin. The injured person will have difficulty raising the arm because the ends of the broken bones rub off against each other, creating the unnecessary friction.

Proximal Humerus Fracture

The humerus is the bone located at the upper part of the arm that rotates within the shoulder socket. This fracture is experienced by people who have osteoporosis, a medical condition where the bones become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to a fracture.

Scapula Fracture

The scapula is a flat, triangular bone that connects the humerus and the clavicle. The scapula fracture is the rarest type of fracture because the shoulder blade does not break quite so easily, and it is protected by the chest and surrounding muscles.

If the shoulder fracture is severe, it needs to be seen by a San Diego orthopedic surgeon so that the right treatment plan can be implemented and the road to recovery can begin right away.

Signs and Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is composed of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. The surrounding muscles allow a person to lift and rotate the arms, and keep the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket.

If you notice that your child is hurting whenever he reaches behind his back or winces when reaching for the seat belt, this could be due to a rotator cuff injury. Shoulder pain when attempting to reach or lift, or even when at rest is the first sign of a rotator cuff injury. A snapping or a cracking sound can also accompany the shoulder pain.

This type of injury frequently happens to children who are involved in sports and perform overhead motions repeatedly. Young athletes such as baseball pitchers, archers, and tennis players are especially susceptible.

What to Do If Your Child is Injured

An early diagnosis and treatment of a rotator cuff injury can make a huge difference. It is important to see a family doctor once your child experiences a loss of motion after getting the shoulder injured. The pain can be treated with medication, as well as a combination of stretching and exercises to make the shoulder stronger and more flexible over time.

If the shoulder pain still remains for a long time, your child will need to be seen immediately by a San Diego orthopedic doctor, and surgery can be done if the injury is severe. A traditional open surgery is used for large rotator cuff tears, while an arthroscopic surgery is recommended for a smaller one. The latter is minimally invasive where a small camera called the arthroscope is inserted in the incision so that the surgeon can see the rotator cuff tear in greater detail and fix it. If the injury is left untreated, it can lead to a degeneration of the joint.

Shoulder Instability: Why It Happens

Did you know that the shoulder is the most moveable joint of the entire body? Because of its wide range of motion, the shoulder is more susceptible to injury. Shoulder instability happens when the shoulder joint becomes too loose, causing the top of the upper arm bone to move out of its socket. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments become less secure in the shoulder joint, causing the humeral bone to dislocate either from overuse or direct trauma.

Shoulder instability happens frequently among athletes, so if your child actively participates in competitive sports, you should watch out for this type of injury. Athletes who play sports that require strong overhead motions like baseball and volleyball are especially vulnerable. The repetitive shoulder movement causes the muscles and connective tissues to weaken over time. Direct trauma can also cause shoulder instability simply by doing everyday activities such as falling down the stairs or falling off a bicycle.

Symptoms of Shoulder Instability

Your child may complain about a sensation of “looseness” and pain in the shoulder. There is also a feeling of numbness and weakness during activities that require raising the arm and moving the shoulders. Other conditions such as inflammation and bursitis can also develop. If left untreated, a shoulder instability can also lead to dislocation, rotator cuff injuries, and other conditions.

Shoulder pain doesn’t have to be a part of your child’s life. To get an accurate diagnosis, schedule an appointment with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic doctor. The doctor will perform a physical examination and an X-ray, as well as analyze your child’s medical history. If the shoulder instability cannot be fixed with conservative treatments, an arthroscopic surgery can be done to relieve the discomfort, as well as restore the function and mobility of your child’s shoulders.