Spotlight on 6 of the Most Commonly Seen Orthopedic Injuries

Commom Orthopedic Injuries

Dec 21, 2022 | Orthopedic

The term orthopedic refers to the body’s musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. Orthopedic injuries are those involving these parts of the body. However, these body parts are essential for the normal movement of the human body, and injury to them can severely reduce quality of life. For this reason, it is important to understand and know how to treat the most common orthopedic injuries to reduce the risk of permanent problems developing.  

Here are the most common orthopedic injuries: 

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome 

People with carpal tunnel syndrome experience tingling and numbness in their hands and fingers. These feelings may be accompanied by pain and weakness. All of these symptoms derive from an issue with the median nerve. This nerve travels between the bones of the wrist, where it is at risk of pinching or full impingement. When it is fully compressed, it is called carpal tunnel syndrome.  

This condition frequently results from overuse of the hands and fingers, especially via repetitive tasks. However, it is important to recognize that physicians may not be able to identify the exact cause of the syndrome, and its cause may be multifactorial. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medications and braces, as well as physical therapy. 

  1. Plantar fasciitis  

Plantar fasciitis can develop in people who put regular strain or pressure on their heels such as dancers or long-distance runners. The plantar fascia is the ligament along the bottom of the foot that connects the heel bone to the toes. When this ligament is repeatedly strained, it can cause difficulty walking. Other symptoms of plantar fasciitis include weakness and swelling in the affected foot. Treatment includes rest and avoiding activity on the foot. Meanwhile, wearing properly fitting shoes with adequate support can both treat and prevent the condition. If the issue persists, surgery may be recommended. 

  1. Rotator cuff tears  

The shoulder has an intricate grouping of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that help the joint move in many different directions seamlessly. Collectively, these components are called the rotator cuff. Unfortunately, these components are susceptible to injury from acute incidents, such as lifting a heavy object, or through repetitive movements. Typically, the ligaments and tendons are the components that are torn, though the muscles can also be injured. When part of the rotator cuff is torn, you may have difficulty raising that arm and may experience pain and stiffness.  

Sometimes, rest and a brace are enough for treatment. In more severe cases, surgical intervention will be required. Physical therapy can also help, as can steroid injections, which help minimize inflammation. 

  1. ACL tears  

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) runs directly through the middle of the knee and connects one side to the other, stabilizing the knee. This ligament can tear, which jeopardizes the steadiness of the joint when standing. Furthermore, a tear will make it difficult to bend the knee. These injuries frequently occur when playing sports that involve a lot of running. Whenever you change direction quickly while running or come to a sudden stop, your knees experience a lot of pressure. When the pressure is too great, the ligament can tear since it experiences the brunt of the shock. Physical therapy and rest both help the healing process, but surgery is often needed to repair the ligament. 

  1. Stress fractures 

Often undiagnosed, stress fractures of bones are much more common than complete breaks. This is because they often do not cause pain and are therefore never investigated. However, stress fractures can become serious and often need to be addressed. For the most part, stress fractures arise from the overuse of muscle groups.  

When muscles are overused, they become weak and unable to support the bones they surround. With enough stress, the bone will fracture. With continual overuse of muscle groups, even minor impacts can result in stress fractures of the bones they surround. Of course, bone mineral density also plays a role, so issues like osteoporosis predispose bones to stress fractures. Rest usually allows these fractures to heal, but surgical intervention is sometimes necessary. 

  1. Wrist fractures 

A broken or fractured wrist is a common injury. We tend to stretch out our arms when we fall, leaving the wrist to absorb the impact. Direct strikes to the wrist can also break the small bones of the wrist.  

Treatment usually involves a cast to help keep the wrist immobile. The cast forces the bones of the wrist to rest so that they can heal. This healing period can be quite long, but taking the cast off too early may cause reinjury. In some circumstances, surgery may be required, such as when there are an extensive number of fractures to heal or a cast is not helping the healing process. 

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