Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions about orthopedics.
What should I do right after an injury?
Never try to “work through” or “play through” an injury. As soon as possible, to relieve pain, reduce swelling and speed healing, use the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method.
Rest: Stop any activity that causes pain.
Ice: To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack to the area immediately. Use the ice pack for about 10 minutes, 3 times a day for up to 72 hours after the injury.
Compression: To reduce swelling, wrap the injured area with an elastic bandage (but not too tightly) for up to 72 hours after the injury.
Elevation: As much as possible, elevate the injured area on pillows above the level of the heart.
If the area is stiff and swollen, but still functional (you can still walk or move your arm), you probably don’t need to go to urgent care.
What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?
A sprain is when the ligaments, the tough bands of tissue that connect the bones, stretch or tear. A good example of a sprain is an ankle sprain.
A strain is when the muscles or tendons stretch or tear, which is common in the hamstrings, calf, back and biceps muscles.
What is the difference between tendonitis, fasciitis and bursitis?
Tendonitis is the inflammation of a tendon, which attaches bone to muscle. Tendonitis is the cause of tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
Fasciitis is the inflammation of the fascia, or the connective tissue surrounding muscles blood vessels and nerves. The bottom of the foot is a common area for fasciitis.
Bursitis is inflammation of the bursa, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints in the shoulder, elbows and hips.
What is the difference between a tendon and a ligament?
A tendon connects muscle to bone. A ligament connects bones. Tendons help your muscles move bones, while ligaments help stabilize the joints.
I have shoulder pain at night. What could be the cause?
It is common for people to have worse shoulder pain at night, and there are several different causes. If you have pain when you lift your arm to the front and overhead, it’s probably shoulder impingement. If the pain is mostly on the side of the shoulder, it’s probably tendonitis from one of the rotator cuff muscles. If you have extreme stiffness or can’t move your shoulder, it’s probably frozen shoulder. If you have general pain deep in the joint, it’s probably osteoarthritis. You should get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor so that you can get treatment as soon as possible.
I have had shoulder pain for several months. Will it go away on its own?
Probably not, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
What is the link between frozen shoulder and diabetes?
Some doctors believe that sugar molecules attach to the collagen in the shoulder, making it sticky, which causes stiffness and pain in the shoulder. High blood sugar has been shown to be a risk factor for frozen shoulder.
Why do I have tennis elbow if I’m doing weight training?
Most of the pain in the elbow from lifting weights is associated with poor form and excessive weights.
Can you get carpal tunnel syndrome in your fingers?
The symptoms of carpal tunnel can cause tingling, numbness and weakness in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.
Why are good running shoes so important?
Many people underestimate the importance of a good pair of running shoes. Worn out or ill-fitting shoes can cause blisters, foot pain, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain and back pain. If you really want to exercise consistently, invest in a good pair of running shoes.
How can I tell if I just have a sprain or if I tore something in my knee?
You can’t unless you see your doctor. The symptoms of a severe sprain and a tear are very similar.
Why do women injure their ACL more often than men?
Women who participate in sports are two to 10 times more likely to injure their ACL than men who participate in the same type of sport. There is no known exact cause, but some theories are that women’s knees are more turned in, their hips tend to be wider, their legs are less bent when jumping and landing, and the soles of the feet are more rigid (flat foot stance instead of on the balls of the feet).
Will my joint replacement implant set off the metal detector at the airport?
Yes, if the joint replacement has metal in it.
How long does an artificial joint last?
Artificial joints last between 10 and 20 years, depending on your level of activity, weight and body mass index (BMI).
Which antibiotics have been linked to Achilles tendon tears?
Antibiotics such as Cipro, which is in the class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones, have been linked to tendon ruptures, specifically the Achilles tendon.
Will a night splint help my plantar fasciitis?
Night splints can help in many cases, especially if your pain is related to tight calf muscles.
I turned my ankle several months ago, why does my ankle still feel wobbly?
The ankle ligaments have probably not healed enough or they are too stretched. You may need to do ankle-strengthening exercises to tighten up the muscles and ligaments.
What is the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis have some similar characteristics, but they are different conditions with different symptoms and treatment. Osteoarthritis is more common and typically occurs later in life with gradual wear and tear on the joints, which makes joints painful, stiff and may limit motion. The symptoms are usually on one side of the body and in one set of joints, such as the fingers, hip or knee. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks the joints, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. It usually affects both sides of the body and there is a general feeling of whole-body fatigue.