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 ...

How Runners Can Prevent 7 Common Injuries
How Runners Can Prevent 7 Common Injuries
By: Dr. Pitts There’s a certain amount of pain that is to be expected with running; sore muscles after a long workout or tired feet after a race. A bit of discomfort that can be soothed with a long soak in the tub and rest is nothing unusual. However, there are specific injuries that can happen to runners that require medical attention and recuperation (e.g. no running) time. Many of these injuries can be avoided with a bit of intention and preparation. Here some of the most common running injuries and how to avoid them. Runner’s Knee The medical term for runner’s knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome, but it’s really just a fancy way of saying that you’ve got pain around or behind your kneecap. Runners are repetitively pounding their feet on the ground, and this force is compounded when running downhill or running with weak hips. To prevent this pain, stick with running on flat or uphill surfaces. Avoid hard surfaces (like pavement) and stick to running on grass, a rubberized track or other soft surfaces. If the pain doesn’t go away, ...

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, ...

2018 Winter Olympics: Athletes to Watch
2018 Winter Olympics: Athletes to Watch
By: Ryan Pitts, MD The 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which will be held in PyeongvChang, South Korea, is an exciting time for all athletes and sports-watchers. With amazing performances and heroic stories of injury recovery, this year will be an exciting time to watch these experts take to the ice, slopes and halfpipes in an effort to bring home gold. Let’s take a look at a few of the U.S. Olympians you won’t want to miss this month. Lindsey Vonn, Alpine Skier The 33-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, plans to compete in her fourth Games. She was forced to miss the 2014 Olympics in Sochi due to a knee surgery. She also suffered a broken ankle in the summer of 2015, adding to a long list of other injuries common to downhill skiers. As a matter of fact, from 2006 to 2016, Vonn has had nine major injuries and five surgeries. Most recently, she experienced a terrifying high-speed crash while leading a downhill at Lake Louise, in Alberta, Canada, in early December. Vonn will compete in at least the downhill, the dangerous ...

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 ...

The 5 Best Hikes in St. Louis This Fall
The 5 Best Hikes in St. Louis This Fall
When the weather turns from hot and humid to cool and brisk, you can’t help but make plans to be outside. With so many beautiful and historic places to hike around St. Louis, you’ll want to make plans to get the whole family outside and moving. It’s about more than just getting “steps” on your tracker; spending time hiking together is a great way to encourage some screen-free bonding time with your family. Once you’ve gotten your hiking boots, backpack and water bottle lined up, consider this list of the best hikes around St. Louis. Lime Kiln Loop Trail—Looking to get in a good workout while hiking? Walk this 3.2-mile loop at a brisk pace as it winds up and down (from a 300 to 800-foot elevation) through the woods. If you’re looking for nature, this is the trail for you: birds and even reptiles can be seen until the first freeze. Where: Rockwoods Reservation, 2751 Glencoe Road, Wildwood ...

What's the Difference Between Total Knee and Partial Knee Replacement?
What's the Difference Between Total Knee and Partial Knee Replacement?
By: Dr. Pitts The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that over 600,000 knee replacements are performed in the U.S. each year. (AAOS) While partial knee replacements and total knee replacements may seem near-identical, the comparison is more ‘apples to oranges’. There are three main compartments of a knee: The lateral component - The outside region of the knee, which is where the lateral cruciate ligament, or LCL as it’s often referred to, is located. The medial component - The inside region of the knee where the medial cruciate ligament (MCL) is located. The patellofemoral component - Located at the front of the knee, including the patella and closely connected to the femur, hence the name ‘patellofemoral’. While total knee replacement, or full knee replacement as it’s sometimes called, is highly successful, it’s important to note not all knee osteoarthritis patients suffer from arthritic conditions in all ...

What is hip arthroscopy?
What is hip arthroscopy?
By: Dr. Ryan Pitts Doctors often want to know the extent and severity of an injury or condition without undergoing the risk of invasive surgery. Patients who suffer from hip injuries are at a higher risk of further health complications due to their condition. This is where hip arthroscopy proves its greatest value. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, hip arthroscopy is a “surgical procedure that allows doctors to view the hip joint without making a large incision (cut) through the skin and other soft tissues.” (AAOS) The surgeon inserts a small camera called an arthroscope into the hip region and takes pictures. Any necessary incisions will be miniscule compared to the full incision required for a more invasive inspection of the joint area. Hip arthroscopy is not as widely used as knee and shoulder arthroscopy, but it is nevertheless still effective. Surgeons often use hip arthroscopy to identify smaller problem areas and conduct minor procedures. Some surgeries that are often conducted during hip arthroscopy include the following, among others: Repairing torn cartilage ...

What is a hip pointer (and how do to treat it)
What is a hip pointer (and how do to treat it)
By: Dr. Pitts Have you ever seen a football player take a blow to the hip and the player immediately uses both hands to press on his hip? The team doctors rush out and help the player limp to the sidelines. A few minutes later the sideline reporter gives the report that the player sustained a ‘hip pointer’. It’s at that moment when you wonder, “What is a hip pointer?” If a hip pointer sounds painful, you’re right; hip pointer can be excruciating to endure. I’d like to share what constitutes as a hip pointer injury, what are the symptoms of a hip pointer, and what treatment options are available for a hip pointer injury. What is a hip pointer injury? A hip pointer occurs during impact on the iliac crest, the fan-shaped or crescent-shaped top of the hip bone. A football helmet hitting the hip joint or a heavy object striking the bony protrusion part of the hip is what can often cause a hip pointer. Symptoms of hip pointer injuries Hip pointers are often presented as severe tenderness and pain when ...

Could the pain in your knee be a tear?
 Could the pain in your knee be a tear?
By: Dr. Ryan Pitts It happened. You’re jogging along the Katy Trail or walking up the steps at work and ouch- you feel a twinge of pain on the outside edge of your kneecap. The small divot on the outside is now tender to the touch. Oh no, did you tear something in your knee? Our brains can easily go to the worst possible scenario when we experience pain. How do you know if your knee pain is a small ‘tweak’ or if you may have torn a ligament? Thankfully, the answers are often obvious. There are a handful of crucial components in your knee region. There are four main ligaments - one on either side of your leg (collateral ligaments) and two crisscrossed inside your knee: The lateral collateral ligament (LCL) is on the outside of your leg. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is on the inside of your leg. The ...