Orthopedic Associates' Blog

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Orthopedic Associates' Blog


All About Shoulder Arthroscopy
All About Shoulder Arthroscopy
Dr. Ryan Pitts Long recovery times, risk of infection and the pain associated with large incisions have been mitigated by improvements to modern surgical methods. One such advancement is arthroscopy (pronounced “ahr-THROS-kuh-pee”), which allows for a safer, less invasive option for repairing damaged joints and tissues. The word originates from the Greek “arthro” (join) and “skopein” (to look). As it pertains to the shoulder, arthroscopy allows doctors to understand the extent and severity of an injury or condition without undergoing the risk of invasive surgery.  Popular since the 1970s as an alternative to more invasive surgery, the procedure continues to evolve as new instruments and techniques are developed.  According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, shoulder arthroscopy is a “procedure that orthopedic surgeons use to inspect, diagnose, and repair problems inside a joint.” (AAOS) The surgeon inserts a small fiber-optic video camera called an arthroscope through a small cut in the shoulder region and takes pictures and/or video. Your doctor will be able to view the inside of your joint in real time on a high-definition video monitor. Other pencil-thin surgical ...

Rotator Cuff Injuries: Causes and Treatments
Rotator Cuff Injuries: Causes and Treatments
By Dr. Hulsey Almost any movement of the shoulders involve the rotator cuff especially motion above the shoulder level. This group of muscles and tendons that surround and support the shoulder joint keep the top of your upper arm bone firmly inside the shallow socket of your shoulder. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, you should consult a physician. If your physician has already determined that you need rotator cuff surgery, here are some things you can expect. Who is at risk for a rotator cuff injury? Rotator cuffs are prone to injury and can often be damaged while performing work or athletic activity involving overhead motions like painting, hammering and playing tennis or baseball. As you age, your rotator cuff can show signs of wear and will be more easily injured. If there is a family history of joint issues, especially rotator cuff injuries, you may be at increased risk because of your genetics. What is rotator cuff disease? This damage to the rotator cuff is known as “rotator cuff disease” and can occur from any cause, including a single injury ...

Exercises to Help You Recover from Shoulder Surgery
Exercises to Help You Recover from Shoulder Surgery
By: Dr. Pitts   Because your shoulder can move in multiple directions, it is a complicated joint that helps you perform almost all daily activities. Think about the multiple times per day you reach for something, eat or brush your teeth, get dressed or give a friend a high five. All these activities and more involve your shoulder joint, so when it’s not working right it can be debilitating. If you have shoulder surgery, you can expect your recovery time to be anywhere from six months to a year. Recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery, in which the doctor operates through a small incision, the recovery process is usually less. However, your recovery time can vary greatly depending on the type of injury, type of surgery and how healthy you were before surgery.  After a period of post-operative care and immobilization to allow for recovery, you should begin to work with a physical therapist to perform gentle, assisted exercises. This activity will help you regain movement and range of motion in your shoulder while it is still actively healing.  Passive Range of Motion Exercise To begin, ...

When is the Best Time to Undergo Arthroscopy?
When is the Best Time to Undergo Arthroscopy?
By: Dr. Pitts When you hear you need surgery, it’s natural to experience fear and curiosity as some of the first emotions. You may find yourself grappling with questions like: “How much is it going to hurt?” “How long will it take to recover?” “Will I have a big scar to deal with on top of the stress of the surgery?” The very nature of surgery makes it intimidating. No one is an ‘old pro’ when it comes to having surgery. However, thanks to great advances in orthopedic surgical technology, undergoing surgery is less intimidating than ever, especially when it comes to arthroscopy. What is Arthroscopy? Arthroscopic procedures are becoming more common in today's medical world. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive treatment in which the surgeon makes a small incision about the size of a buttonhole and inserts a small, fiberoptic camera called an arthroscope. (NCBI) The video from the ...

What to know before getting a Cortisone Shot
What to know before getting a Cortisone Shot
By: Dr. Michael Nogalski Picture yourself in your doctor’s office with the same shoulder pain that’s cramped your work for the past three years. There’s swelling around the rotator cuff and you feel your shoulder locking up at different points throughout the day. Your doctor recommends you get a Cortisone injection… but what does that even mean? What is a cortisone shot? What are the side effects of a cortisone injection? And, will it even work for you? A cortisone shot usually involves two elements: a local anesthetic, and a corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Many cortisone injections can be administered in your doctor’s office, but there is a limit to how many cortisone shots you can receive in a period of time because of possible side effects. Injections should be limited to at least four to six weeks between administrations and no more than four injections in the same location in a calendar year. (Arthritis-Health.com) Cortisone injections come with a variety of possible side effects and risks, such as the following and more: ...

Is your shoulder pain a torn rotator cuff?
Is your shoulder pain a torn rotator cuff?
You’re in the garage grabbing boxes from the top shelf when a box starts falling. You reach out to grab the box… filled with books. You immediately feel a sharp pain in your right shoulder. Ow! You reset the box on the shelf, rub your shoulder, and continue working. The next day you notice your shoulder is still really sore and a little stiff. How do you know your shoulder isn’t a torn rotator cuff? What might seem like a minor ache may be your body saying your shoulder needs orthopedic care. Rotator cuff injuries are most common in people age 40 and older. (Mayo Clinic) Here are some of the more common warning signs of a torn rotator cuff: Extend your arm straight out away from your body and try to lower it slowly. If your arm drops suddenly, it’s safe to say you may have a torn rotator cuff. Deep, dull pain in your shoulder joint - If you have ...

How to tell if your shoulder pain may be a serious condition
How to tell if your shoulder pain may be a serious condition
Shoulder joints can absorb a tremendous amount of impact. If you injure your shoulder, you may not realize the extent of the injury. Of course, obvious signs of serious damage are easier to recognize, like a compound fracture or a dislocated shoulder. Other cases may not seem as significant but may be equally serious in nature. Here are a few signs your shoulder pain may require prompt medical attention. Inability to move (or at least very difficult to move) Do you experience significant resistance, almost as if your shoulder is “frozen” in place, when you try to move? A torn rotator cuff can immobilize your shoulder and make it extremely painful to move. This may be one of the more obvious signs of a serious shoulder injury. Noticeable deformity A large deformity at the top of your shoulder region may be a sign of a acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) injury. If you landed hard on your shoulder, you may have also fractured your clavicle. A slight bump along your collarbone is usually an indication of a clavicle fracture. Inability to move (or at least ...

Keeping An Informed Perspective: Orthopedics
Considering how much we put our bodies through, it’s remarkable that we’re not in more pain. Take our feet for example. Did you know that each of your feet has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments? That’s a lot of little intricacies that you probably never think about when you slide your foot into a shoe. Move up to your ankles, did you know we carry approximately four to six times our body weight across the ankle joint when climbing up stairs or walking steep inclines? And that’s just your feet and ankles; there is so much more to the musculoskeletal system. It’s no wonder orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating the wide variety of pain that can result from injury or circumstance. Orthopedic doctors specialize in issues, diseases and injuries pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. They diagnose, treat, help prevent and rehabilitate musculoskeletal conditions like sports injuries, broken bones, joint issues, congenital conditions, degenerative conditions and even bone tumors. They address simple issues like a sprained wrist or ankle as well as much more ...

Most Common Softball Injuries and How To Prevent Them
Softball is a fantastic sport for all ages, ranging from competitive fast-pitch to beer league soft toss. Softball matches one of America’s greatest past times with a slower pace of play, providing a great chance to enjoy being outside and get some good exercise. Don’t be fooled though- softball can be a rough sport, especially when it comes to injuries. Here are some of the most common injuries experienced by softball players and how you can prevent them. Pulled hamstring How many times have you seen  a batter hustle down the first-base line only to pull up after thirty feet, grabbing his thigh? The pulled “hammy,” or hamstring, is one of the most common softball injuries, especially among older players. Take the time to carefully stretch out your legs and then do some light jogging before entering full game speed. Shoulder A variety of shoulder injuries happen from playing softball, especially for young pitchers in fast-pitch leagues. The torque required to underhand a fast softball pitch puts significant pressure on important parts of the ...

Everything you ever wanted to know about a small rotator cuff tear but were too afraid to ask.
Let's just say your MRI scan returned showing a small to moderate sized rotator cuff tear in your shoulder. In addition to this, you have some arthritis in the joint between the collar bone and the shoulder blade, known as the acromioclavicular or AC joint. What now? What does this all mean? First, you probably want to know what a rotator cuff is: The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that attach to the top of your arm bone and allow you to lift your arm overhead.  So, what is a tear? Rotator cuff tears can be the result of a specific injury or the can present as progressively worsening arm and shoulder pain over the course of a few months. Pain with overhead activity, weakness, and difficulty sleeping on the affected shoulder are all common complaints of patients with rotator cuff tears. Unfortunately tears of the tendons of the rotator cuff do not heal. Current data suggests that these tears do extend, get larger with age, and eventually, even if they become asymptomatic; become symptomatic again in the future. The nature ...