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The ankle is the joint where the leg and foot meet. Bones are held in place by connective tissue called ligaments. When ankle ligaments are stretched to the point of pain and injury, it is called an ankle sprain. A sprain can tear the ligaments. These tears can be very small but still cause pain. Ankle sprains can be mild or severe.
A sprain may occur when you twist your ankle or bend it too far. This can happen when you stumble or fall. Things that can make an ankle sprain more likely include:
Having had an ankle sprain before
Playing sports that involve running and jumping. Or playing contact sports such as football or hockey.
Wearing shoes that don’t support your feet and ankles well
Having ankles with poor strength and flexibility
Symptoms may include:
Pain or soreness in the ankle
Redness or bruising
Not being able to walk or put weight on the affected foot
Reduced range of motion in the ankle
A popping or tearing feeling at the time the sprain occurs
An abnormal or dislocated look to the ankle
Instability or too much range of motion in the ankle
Treatment focuses on reducing pain and swelling, and avoiding further injury. Treatments may include:
Resting the ankle. Avoid putting weight on it. This may mean using crutches until the sprain heals.
Prescription or over-the-counter pain medicines. These help reduce swelling and pain.
Cold packs. These help reduce pain and swelling.
Raising your ankle above your heart. This helps reduce swelling.
Wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage or ankle brace. This helps reduce swelling and gives some support to the ankle. In rare cases, you may need a cast or boot.
Stretching and other exercises. These improve flexibility and strength.
Heat packs. These may be recommended before doing ankle exercises.
An ankle that has been weakened by a sprain can be more likely to have repeated sprains afterward. Doing exercises to strengthen your ankle and improve balance can reduce your risk for repeated sprains. Other possible complications are long-term (chronic) pain or an ankle that remains unstable.
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed
Pain, numbness, discoloration, or coldness in the foot or toes
Pain that gets worse
Symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
Ankle pain is often due to an ankle sprain but can also be caused by other issues.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are common conditions that cause pain, swelling, and limited movement. They affect joints and connective tissues around the body. Millions of people in the U.S. have some form of arthritis.
Arthritis means inflammation of a joint. A joint is where two or more bones meet. There are more than 100 different arthritis diseases. Rheumatic diseases include any condition that causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones. Arthritis is usually chronic, which means that it is ongoing.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are more common in women than men. They are also often associated with old age. This is because the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, occurs more often in older adults. However, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affect people of all ages.
The three most common forms of arthritis are:
Other forms of arthritis or related disorders include:
The cause of arthritis depends on the type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is caused by the wear and tear of the joint over time or because of overuse. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and scleroderma are caused by the body’s immune system attacking the body’s own tissues. Gout is caused by the buildup of crystals in the joints. Arthritis can be linked to genes. People with genetic marker HLA-B27 have a higher risk of ankylosing spondylitis. Many other forms of arthritis are idiopathic. This means that the cause is not known.
Some risk factors for arthritis that can’t be avoided or changed include:
Risk factors that may be avoided or changed include:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. The most common symptoms include:
The symptoms of arthritis can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Tests may also be done. These include blood tests such as:
Other tests may be done, such as:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how what type of arthritis you have, and how severe the condition is. A treatment plan is tailored to each person with his or her health care provider.
There is no cure for arthritis. The goal of treatment is often to limit pain and inflammation, and help ensure joint function. Treatment plans often use both short-term and long-term methods.
Short-term treatments include:
Long-term treatments include:
Arthritis treatment can include a team of health care providers, such as:
Because arthritis causes joints to degenerate over time, it can cause disability. It can cause pain and movement problems that cause a person to be less able to carry out normal daily activities and tasks.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, it is important to help keep joints functioning by reducing pain and inflammation. Work on a treatment plan with your health care provider that includes medication and therapy. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life. Lifestyle changes include:
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your health care provider know.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. There are over 100 types of arthritis.
There are 4 major ligaments in the knee. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bones to each other and provide stability and strength to the joint. The 4 main ligaments in the knee connect the femur (thighbone) to the tibia (shin bone), and include:
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ligament, located in the center of the knee, that controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia (shin bone).
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). The ligament, located in the back of the knee, that controls backward movement of the tibia (shin bone).
Medial collateral ligament (MCL). The ligament that gives stability to the inner knee.
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The ligament that gives stability to the outer knee.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most common ligaments to be injured. The ACL is often stretched and/or torn during a sudden twisting motion (when the feet stay planted one way, but the knees turn the other way). Skiing, basketball, and football are sports that have a higher risk of ACL injuries.
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is also a common ligament to become injured in the knee. However, the PCL injury usually occurs with sudden, direct impact, such as in a car accident or during a football tackle.
Often, a cruciate ligament injury does not cause pain. Instead, the person may hear a popping sound as the injury occurs, followed by the leg buckling when trying to stand on it, and swelling. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.
The symptoms of a cruciate ligament injury may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your doctor for a diagnosis.
The medial collateral ligament is injured more often than the lateral collateral ligament. Stretch and tear injuries to the collateral ligaments are usually caused by a blow to the outer side of the knee, such as when playing hockey or football.
Similar to cruciate ligament injuries, an injury to the collateral ligament causes the knee to pop and buckle, causing pain and swelling.
The symptoms of a collateral ligament injury may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for a knee ligament injury may include:
X-ray. A diagnostic test that uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film to rule out an injury to bone instead of, or in addition to, a ligament injury.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body; can often determine damage or disease in bones and a surrounding ligament or muscle.
Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) that is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.
Treatment may include:
Medicaine such as ibuprofen
Protective knee brace (for use during exercise)
Ice pack application (to reduce swelling)
Ligament injuries to the knee can include damage to the ACL (most common), MCL, LCL or the PCL.
A fracture is a partial or complete break in the bone. When a fracture occurs, it’s classified as either open or closed:
Fractures have a variety of names. Here is a listing of the common types that may occur:
Fractures most often happen when more force is applied to the bone than the bone can take. Bones are weakest when they are twisted.
Bone fractures can be caused by falls, trauma, or as a result of a direct blow or kick to the body.
Overuse or repetitive motions can tire muscles and put more pressure on the bone, causing a stress fractures. This is more common in athletes.
Fractures can also be caused by diseases that weaken the bone, such as osteoporosis or cancer in the bones.
The following are the most common symptoms of a fracture. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms of a broken or fractured bone may include:
The symptoms of a broken bone may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always see a doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history (including asking how the injury occurred) and physical exam, tests used for a fracture may include the following:
The goal of treatment is to put the pieces of bone back in place, control the pain, give the bone time to heal, prevent complications, and restore normal use of the fractured area.
Fractures can take many months to heal as broken bones “knit” back together when new bone is formed between the broken parts.
Most fractures are caused by accidents, such as falls, or other injuries. But there are some things you may be able to do to decrease your risk of bone fractures, for instance:
You should see a health care provider any time you think you may have a broken bone.
An open fracture (one in which the bone comes through the skin so you can see it or a deep wound that exposes the bone through the skin) is considered an emergency. Get medical attention right away for this type of fracture.
Any injury to the bones of the spine is also a medical emergency. These cause severe back pain and may cause nerve problems, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or bowel/bladder problems. Call 911 if you suspect a person has a break in the bones of their spine.
A fracture occurs when a bone is cracked or broken. There are several types of fracture.
Sprained ankles and wrists, arthritic knees and hips, and torn rotator cuffs all have one thing in common: they result in joint pain.
The usual causes of joint pain are over use, sprains, fractures, and arthritis. Becoming familiar with the usual causes and symptoms of joint pain can help you seek appropriate treatment and ongoing care, if necessary.
Here are several medical conditions that can cause joint pain.
Persistent joint pain, swelling, and limited range of motion are typical symptoms of arthritis. Inflammatory types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid or gouty arthritis, may also make the joint red, hot, and tender to the touch.
Mild arthritis can often be self-managed with pain relievers, ice, and gentle range of motion exercise. Pain that is getting worse or is severe warrants a trip to the doctor to verify the diagnosis and get stronger medications or other therapies.
This is a chronic disease of the joints and the most common joint disorder. The cartilage between a joint's bones gradually wears away with time and use. The lack of cartilage results in pain and stiffness in the joint.
Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, a thick fibrous cord that attaches muscle to bone. Some common names for tendonitis are tennis or golfer’s elbow and repetitive stress injury. Symptoms include pain, tenderness, and mild swelling near a joint.
Self-care that includes ice and resting the joint are often effective. A doctor should evaluate ongoing pain.
A sprain is an injury to a ligament. The severity of the injury depends on how badly a ligament is torn or strained and the number of ligaments involved. A sprain can result from a fall, sudden twist, or blow to the body that forces a joint out of its normal position.
The usual signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and loss of the ability to use the joint.
The bursae are fluid-filled sacs around the joints that allow muscles and tendons to slip easily over the ends of bones. If these bursae become inflamed, the joint will be painful.
Although mild joint pain can often be treated with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) and over-the-counter pain and inflammation relievers, you should see a doctor if you have severe pain, can’t put any weight on the joint, it looks crooked, or you can’t move it.
Do not resume full activity before you are fully recovered or you are at greater risk for reinjury.
Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint.
Psoriatic arthritis is a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic skin and nail disease. It causes red, scaly rashes and thick, pitted fingernails. Psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in symptoms and joint inflammation. But it tends to affect fewer joints than RA. And it does not produce the typical RA antibodies. The arthritis of psoriatic arthritis comes in 5 forms:
The cause of psoriatic arthritis is unknown. But factors such as immunity, genes, and the environment may play a role.
The skin condition psoriasis may start before or after the arthritis. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. Psoriasis causes red, scaly rashes and thick, pitted fingernails. Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis may include:
Psoriatic arthritis is easier to confirm if you already have psoriasis. If the skin symptoms have not yet occurred, diagnosis is more difficult. The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Your health care provider will ask about your symptoms. You may have blood tests to check:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Treatment is done for both the skin condition and the joint inflammation. Some medications used to treat psoriatic arthritis include:
Other treatment may include:
The condition may damage joints enough to change a person’s activity level. Lack of activity can lead to stiff joints and muscle weakness. Psoriatic arthritis can also cause fatigue and low red blood cell count (anemia). People with psoriatic arthritis are more likely to develop:
There is no cure for psoriatic arthritis. However, you can reduce your symptoms. This includes sticking to your treatment plan. Manage pain with medication, acupuncture, and meditation. Get enough exercise. Good exercises include yoga, swimming, walking, and bicycling. Work with a physical or occupational therapist. He or she can suggest devices to help you in your daily tasks.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by inflammation of the skin and joints.
A normal spine, when viewed from behind appears straight. However, a spine affected by kyphosis has a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving an abnormally rounded or "humpback" appearance.
Kyphosis is defined as a curvature of the spine measuring 50 degrees or greater on an X-ray. The normal spine can bend from 20 to 45 degrees of curvature in the upper back area. Kyphosis is a type of spinal deformity.
Kyphosis can be congenital (present at birth), or due to acquired conditions that may include the following:
Kyphosis is more common in females than males.
The following are the most common symptoms of kyphosis. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Back pain, pain down the legs, and changes in bowel and bladder habits are not commonly associated with kyphosis. A person experiencing these types of symptoms requires further medical evaluation by a doctor.
The symptoms of kyphosis may resemble other spinal conditions or deformities, or may be a result of an injury or infection. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
The health care provider makes the diagnosis of kyphosis with a complete medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic tests. For a child, the health care provider will want to have a prenatal and birth history of the child and ask if other family members are known to have kyphosis. The health care provider also will ask about developmental milestones since some types of kyphosis can be associated with other neuromuscular disorders. Developmental delays may require further medical evaluation.
Diagnostic procedures may include the following:
Early detection of kyphosis is important for successful treatment. Doctors, and even some school programs, routinely look for signs that kyphosis may be present.
Specific treatment for kyphosis will be determined by your health care provider based on:
The goal of treatment is to stop the progression of the curve and minimize deformity. Treatment may include:
Possible complications of kyphosis depend on the type of kyphosis your child has. With Scheuermann’s kyphosis, there may be pain with activity or with long periods of sitting or standing.
Kyphosis is a type of spinal deformity. Kyphosis is defined as a curvature of the spine measuring 50 degrees or greater on an X-ray.
A condition in which the normal roundback in the upper spine is increased.
Whether throwing a ball, paddling a canoe, lifting boxes, or pushing a lawn mower, we rely heavily on our shoulders to perform a number of activities.
Normally, the shoulder has a wide range of motion, making it the most mobile joint in the body. Because of this flexibility, however, it is not very stable and is easily injured.
The shoulder is made up of two main bones: the end of upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). The end of the humerus is round and fits into a socket in the scapula. Surrounding the shoulder is a bag of muscles and ligaments. Ligaments connect the bones of the shoulders, and tendons connect the bones to surrounding muscle.
To keep shoulders healthy and pain-free, it's important to know how to spot and avoid common injuries.
Shoulder instability happens most often in young people and athletes. When muscles and ligaments that hold it together are stretched beyond their normal limits, the shoulder becomes unstable. For younger people, this condition may be a normal part of growth and development. Shoulders often stiffen or tighten with age.
In athletes, shoulder instability is caused by certain motions used in tackling or pitching, for example. These motions put great force on the shoulder, stretching the shoulder ligaments over time. It can cause pain that comes on either quickly or over time, a feeling that the shoulder is loose, or a weakness in the arm. Treatment includes rest, physical therapy or surgery.
A shoulder separation, or sprain, happens when the ligaments that hold the clavicle to the roof of the shoulder tear. If this happens, the clavicle is pushed out of place and forms a bump at the top of the shoulder. Sprains often happen during a fall, when your hand or arm is outstretched to stop the fall, or when you fall on a hard surface. When the sprain happens, it causes severe pain, a misshapen shoulder, and decreased shoulder movement. Treatment depends on the severity of the sprain. To help decrease pain and swelling, apply ice right after the injury. Keeping the arm in a sling to limit the movement of the shoulder lets ligaments to heal. This is followed by physical therapy exercises. Sometimes, surgery is needed.
If the ligaments holding the shoulder muscles to bones tear and can't hold the joint together, the shoulder is dislocated. Falling onto an outstretched hand, arm or the shoulder itself, or a violent twisting, can cause a shoulder dislocation. The main symptom is pain in the shoulder that becomes worse with movement. To treat a dislocation, apply ice right after the injury to decrease pain, swelling and bleeding around the joint. Within 15 to 30 minutes of the injury, the joint will be painful and swollen. A dislocated shoulder needs urgent medical care. Healthcare providers treat dislocations by using gentle traction to pull the shoulder back into place. When the shoulder pops out of the socket repeatedly, it’s called recurrent instability. Recurrent instability can be treated with surgery to repair the torn ligaments.
The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles of the upper arm. They allow you to raise and rotate the arm. The muscles are attached to the bones by tendons. The tendons of the rotator cuff allow the muscles to move the arm. If the tendons tear, the humerus can't move as easily in the socket. This makes it hard to move the arm up or away from the body.
As people age and are less active, tendons start to degenerate and lose strength. This weakening can lead to a rotator cuff tear. Most rotator cuff injuries happen to middle-aged or older adults who already have shoulder problems. They can happen in younger people too. The shoulder has a poor blood supply. This makes it harder for the tendons to repair and maintain themselves. Using your arm overhead puts pressure on the rotator cuff tendons. Repetitive movement or stress to these tendons can lead to impingement. This is when the tissue or bone in that area becomes misaligned and rubs or chafes.
The rotator cuff tendons can be injured or torn by trying to lift a very heavy object with an extended arm. It can also happen from falling, or by trying to catch a heavy falling object.
Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff include tenderness and soreness in the shoulder when using the shoulder. If the tendon has ruptured, you may not be able to raise the arm at all. It may be hard to sleep lying on that side. You may feel pain when pressure is put on the shoulder.
Treatment depends on the severity of the injury. If the tear is not complete, your healthcare provider may suggest RICE, for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Resting the shoulder is probably the most important part of treatment. But, after the pain has eased, you will need to start physical therapy to regain shoulder movement. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain.
This extreme stiffness in the shoulder can happen at any age. It affects about 2% of Americans, most often between 40 and 60 years of age. But the causes are not fully understood. Frozen shoulder can affect people with diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, or Parkinson disease. It can also happen if the shoulder has been immobile for a period of time. It happens when a minor shoulder injury heals with scar tissue that affects how the joint moves. This scar tissue reduces flexibility in the shoulder and makes it more prone to injury. The main symptom is the not being able to move the shoulder in any direction without pain. Treatment can be NSAIDs, cortisone shots, or physical therapy. You can reduce further injury and stiffness by stretching before starting activities.
A sudden increase in activity can place great stress on the shoulders and lead to a loss of flexibility. This is a common problem in middle age, especially among people who don't exercise regularly, but go out every now and then for an intense sport.
Although painful and inconvenient, overuse problems can often be treated with rest, NSAIDs and stretching exercises.
Starting as early as age 50, some people get osteoarthritis, which causes painful movement. This happens as the smooth surfaces of the cartilage that line the bones of the shoulder joint are worn away, and joints start to wear out and become larger. The most common cause of osteoarthritis is overuse. Treatments for arthritis in the shoulder depend on the severity of pain. The usual treatments are rest, NSAIDs, and cortisone shots. In some cases, a replacement of the shoulder joint is needed.
Pain in the shoulder or elbow is extremely common with many possible causes.
Tendons are strong cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Tendonitis is when a tendon is inflamed. It can happen to any tendon in the body. When a tendon is inflamed, it can cause swelling, pain, and discomfort. Another problem called tenosynovitis is linked to tendonitis. This is the inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath around a tendon. Usually the sheath itself is inflamed, but both the sheath and the tendon can be inflamed at the same time.
The cause of tendonitis and tenosynovitis is often not known. They may be caused by strain, overuse, injury, or too much exercise. Tendonitis may also be related to a disease such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or infection.
Common types of these tendon problems include:
Lateral epicondylitis. This is most often known as tennis elbow. It causes pain in the back side of the elbow and forearm, along the thumb side when the arm is alongside the body with the thumb turned away. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist back and away from the palm.
Medial epicondylitis. This is most often known as golfer's or baseball elbow.It causes pain from the elbow to the wrist on the palm side of the forearm. The pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm.
Rotator cuff tendonitis. This is also known as biceps tendonitis.It’s a shoulder disorder. It causes inflammation of the shoulder capsule and related tendons.
DeQuervain's tenosynovitis. This is the most common type of tenosynovitis disorder. It causes swelling in the tendon sheath of the tendons of the thumb.
Trigger finger or trigger thumb. This is a type of tenosynovitis. The tendon sheath becomes inflamed and thickened. This makes it hard to extend or flex the finger or thumb. The finger or thumb may lock or "trigger" suddenly.
Symptoms may include:
Pain in the tendon when moved
Swelling from fluid and inflammation
A grating feeling when moving the joint
The symptoms of tendonitis can be like other health problems. Make sure to talk with a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and give you a physical exam. You may have tests to check for other problems that may be causing your symptoms. The tests may include:
Joint aspiration. The healthcare provider uses a needle to take a small amount of fluid from the joint. The fluid is tested to check for gout or signs of an infection.
X-ray. A small amount of radiation is used to make an image. Tendons can’t be seen on an X-ray, but they can show bone. This test can check for arthritis.
Changing your activities
Icing the area to reduce inflammation and pain
Putting a splint on the area to limit movement
Steroid injections to reduce inflammation and pain
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce inflammation and pain
Antibiotics if due to infection
Tendonitis is the inflammation of the tendons, occurs for a variety of reasons.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of arthritis that affects the spine. Ankylosing means stiff or rigid, spondyl means spine, and itis refers to inflammation. The disease causes inflammation of the spine and large joints, resulting in stiffness and pain. The disease may result in erosion at the joint between the spine and the hip bone. This is called the sacroiliac joint. It may also cause bony bridges to form between vertebrae in the spine, fusing those bones. Bones in the chest may also fuse.
The cause of AS is not known, but researchers think that genes play a role. A gene called HLA-B27 occurs in over 95 percent of Caucasian-Americans who have AS, but only 50% of African-Americans who have the disease. However, some people with the HLA-B27 gene do not have AS.
AS is more common among people ages 17 to 35. It can occur in children and older adults as well. The disease affects more young men than women. It tends to run in families.
Symptoms of AS tend to go away and come back over periods of time. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person. The symptoms may include:
The symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Tests may also be done, such as:
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain and stiffness, prevent deformities, and maintain as normal a lifestyle as possible. Treatment may include:
Talk with your health care providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all medications.
Over time, a forward curve of the spine can develop with AS. Patients with AS are at great risk of thinning of the bones (osteoporosis). This can result in spinal fractures. AS can also lead to psoriasis, and inflammation of the eye, aortic valve, and intestinal tract.
There is no cure for AS, so it is important to work on a treatment plan with your health care provider. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life. Stay active and keep up with exercise to reduce pain. A physical therapist can help you design an exercise plan and assist you in keeping good posture.
Is a form of chronic, often painful, arthritis. It affects joints in the spine and the pelvis.
The vertebral column, also called the backbone, is made up of 33 vertebrae that are separated by spongy discs. The spine is divided into 4 distinct areas from top to bottom:
The lumbar spine consists of 5 bony segments in the lower back area, which is where lumbar disk disease occurs.
Most disk herniations happen in the lower lumbar spine, especially between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae and between the fifth lumbar vertebra and the first sacral vertebra (the L4-5 and L5-S1 levels).
Lumbar disk disease is caused by a change in the structure of the normal disk. Most of the time, disk disease happens as a result of aging and the normal degeneration that occurs within the disk. Occasionally, severe injury can cause a normal disk to herniate. Injury may also cause an already herniated disk to worsen.
Although age is the most common risk, physical inactivity can cause weak back and abdominal muscles, which may not support the spine properly. Back injuries also increase when people who are normally physical inactive participate in overly strenuous activities. Jobs that require heavy lifting and twisting of the spine can also cause back injuries.
The symptoms of lumbar disk disease vary depending on where the disk has herniated, and what nerve root it is pushing on. The following are the most common symptoms of lumbar disk disease. However, each person may experience different symptoms. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of lumbar disc disease may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, you may have one or more of the following tests:
Specific treatment for lumbar disk disease will be determined by your health care provider based on:
Typically, conservative therapy is the first line of treatment to manage lumbar disk disease. This may include a combination of the following:
If these conservative measures fail, you may need surgery to remove the herniated disc. Surgery is done under general anesthesia. Your surgeon will make an incision in your lower back over the area where the disc is herniated. Some bone from the back of the spine may be removed to gain access to the area where the disc is located. Your surgeon will remove the herniated part of the disc and any extra loose pieces from the disc space.
After surgery, you may be restricted from activity for several weeks while you heal to prevent another disc herniation. Your surgeon will discuss any restrictions with you.
Lumbar disk disease can cause back and leg pain that interferes with daily activities. It can lead to leg weakness or numbness and difficulty with bowel and bladder control.
Maintaining a healthy weight, participating in regular exercises, and using good posture can minimize your risk for lumbar disk disease.
Conservative therapy requires patience; but sticking with your treatment plan can reduce back pain and minimize the chance of worsening pain or damage to the disk. Conservative measures and surgery can both take time to be effective.
Notify your health care provider if your pain increases or if you begin having difficulty with bowel or bladder control.
This condition occurs when a disk has slipped along the spinal cord. Also referred to as cervical radiculopathy.
Because of its location and range-of-motion, your neck is often left unprotected and subject to injury. Neck pain can range from mild discomfort to disabling, chronic pain.
Neck pain can result from many different causes--from injury, to age-related disorders, or inflammatory disease. Causes of neck pain and problems may include the following:
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for neck pain may include the following:
Specific treatment for neck pain will be determined by your doctor based on:
Treatment for neck pain is recommended when the pain starts to prevent any future injury or damage.
Living with neck pain can be difficult. But the following treatments , often in combination, prove effective both immediately and over time.
To manage your neck pain, you may try medications, rest physical therapy and exercise.
Age-related wear and tear affecting the neck joints. This may also be referred to as cervical spondylosis.
A joint is the place where your bones come together. Normally, bones glide smoothly within your joints, allowing a wide range of motion. But a bone can be pushed or pulled out of position. This is known as a dislocation. Dislocation prevents normal joint movement and can be very painful. Prompt treatment is crucial.
Dislocations can happen to almost any joint. But they're most common in the shoulder, knee cap, elbow, and finger. Dislocated elbows happen most often in children. Many dislocations result from trauma, such as a blow or fall. But some can happen during normal activities. A shoulder can dislocate during the act of throwing a ball.
A dislocation needs emergency care. Injuries that aren`t treated promptly take longer to heal and may result in lasting damage to the joint. Seek medical help right away if you:
Have severe pain in a joint.
Can't move the joint normally.
Can see the misplaced bone.
Have numbness or tingling.
Have a break in the skin over the painful joint.
You will be given pain medicine to make you more comfortable.
The joint will be examined and an X-ray may be taken to check for fractures or other injuries.
The joint is put back into place.
A dislocated finger or elbow may be splinted to keep it from moving while it heals. An injured shoulder may be placed in a sling.
A second X-ray may be done before you leave the hospital.
In some cases, you may be referred to a bone specialist (orthopaedist) or a primary care sports medicine healthcare provider. He or she will make sure you heal properly.
Tips to reduce swelling and pain:
Apply ice to the joint (keep a thin cloth between the ice and your skin).
Raise the injured area above heart level if you can.
A dislocation is a separation of bones at the joint. A dislocation may cause nerve damage.
The hip is defined as the region on each side of the pelvis. The pelvis bone is made up of 3 sections, including:
Ilium. The broad, flaring portion of the pelvis.
Pubis. The lower, posterior part of the pelvis.
Ischium. One of the bones that helps form the hip.
The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and provides stability needed to bear body weight.
The socket area, which is inside the pelvis, is called the acetabulum. The ball part of this joint is the top of the leg bone. It joins with the acetabulum to form the hip joint.
The hip is one of the most stable joints in the body. But, its function, bearing the body's weight, makes it susceptible to arthritis due to excessive pressure. Pain in the hip may involve injury to muscles, tendons, or bursae (small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate joints).
The following are some of the most common hip problems:
Arthritis. The most common cause of the breakdown of hip tissue. There are 3 kinds of arthritis that commonly affect the hip, including:
Osteoarthritis. Also referred to as "wear and tear" arthritis. This type of arthritis involves the cartilage that cushions the bones of the hip wearing away, letting the bones then rub together, causing hip pain and stiffness.
Rheumatoid arthritis. A disease in which, for unknown reasons, the synovial membrane becomes irritated and produces too much fluid. It damages the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.
Traumatic arthritis. Often the result of an injury or fracture, there are more than 300,000 hospitalizations for hip fractures in the U.S. every year.
Avascular necrosis. Involves the loss of bone caused by insufficient blood supply, injury, and bone tumors and may lead to breakdown of the hip joint.
Bursitis. In this condition, the bursa, a closed fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between tissues of the body, becomes inflamed. There are 2 major bursae of the hip, both of which can be associated with stiffness and pain around the hip joint, including the following:
Trochanteric bursa. The bursa located on the side of the hip and separated significantly from the actual hip joint by tissue and bone.
Ischial bursa. The bursa located in the upper buttock area.
Hip pointer. A bruise or tear in the muscle that connects to the top of the ilium (the crest of the pelvis, just below the waist). Causes of a hip pointer may include a blow, a fall, or a quick twist or turn of the body.
This condition can range from mild to severe pain. This may be caused by a number of medical disorders.
There are 3 bones in the knee, the femur, tibia and patella. The ends of those bones are covered with cartilage (a smooth material that cushions the bone and allows the joint to move easily without pain). The cartilage acts as a shock absorber. Between the bones of the knees are two crescent-shaped discs of connective tissue, called menisci, which also act as shock absorbers to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body.
Meniscus tears can occur during a rotating movement while bearing weight, such as when twisting the upper leg while the foot stays in one place during sports and other activities. Tears can be minor, with the meniscus staying connected to the knee, or major, with the meniscus barely attached to the knee by a cartilage thread.
The following are the most common symptoms of a torn meniscus. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of a torn meniscus may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, diagnostic procedures for a torn meniscus may include the following:
Specific treatment for a torn meniscus will be determined by your doctor based on:
An untreated torn meniscus can result in instability of the knee, persistent pain, and increased your risk of osteoarthritis.
Call your health care provider if your knee:
One of the most commonly injured parts of the knee, the meniscus, is located where the major bones of the leg connect.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes inflammation of the joints. The inflammation can be so severe that the function and appearance of the hands and other parts of the body can be affected. In the hand, RA may cause deformities in the joints of the fingers. This makes moving the hands difficult. Lumps, known as rheumatoid nodules, may form over small joints in the hands and the wrist. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a form of arthritis in children ages 16 or younger that causes inflammation and stiffness of joints for more than six weeks. Unlike adult RA, which is chronic and lasts a lifetime, children often outgrow JRA. However, the disease can affect bone development in the growing child.
The exact cause of RA is not known. RA is an autoimmune disorder. This means the body's immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. This causes inflammation in and around the joints. It then may lead to a damage of the skeletal system. RA can also cause damage to other organs, such as the heart and lungs. Researchers think certain factors, including heredity, may contribute to the onset of the disease.
RA most often occurs in people from ages of 30 to 50. It happens more in women than in men.
The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows. The disease often causes inflammation in the same areas on both sides of the body. Symptoms of RA may begin suddenly or slowly over time. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person, and may include:
The symptoms of RA can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. A treatment plan is tailored to you with your health care provider.
There is no cure for RA. The goal of treatment is often to limit pain and inflammation, and help ensure function. You may have one or more types of treatments. Treatment may include:
In some cases, surgery may be an option if other treatments do not work. Surgery does not cure RA. It helps correct the deformities caused by the disease. After surgery, RA can continue to cause problems in the hand, and may even require more surgery. Repair or reconstruction of the hand and wrist can be done in a variety of ways, including:
Because RA damages joints over time, it causes some disability. It can cause pain and movement problems that cause a person to be less able to carry out normal daily activities and tasks. This can also lead to problems such as depression and anxiety.
Although there is no cure for RA, it is important to help keep joints functioning by reducing pain and inflammation. Work on a treatment plan with your health care provider that includes medication and physical therapy. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life. Lifestyle changes include:
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, let your healthcare provider know.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a chronic degenerative joint disease that affects mostly middle-aged and older adults. Osteoarthritis causes the breakdown of joint cartilage. It can occur in any joint, but it most often affects the hands, knees, hips, or spine.
Osteoarthritis can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary osteoarthritis has no known cause. Secondary osteoarthritis is caused by another disease, infection, injury, or deformity. Osteoarthritis starts with the breakdown of cartilage in the joint. As the cartilage wears down, the bone ends may thicken and form bony growths (spurs). Bone spurs interfere with joint movement. Bits of bone and cartilage may float in the joint space. Fluid-filled cysts may form in the bone and limit joint movement.
The risk factors of osteoarthritis include:
The most common symptom of osteoarthritis is pain after overuse or inactivity of a joint. Symptoms usually develop slowly over years. Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each person, and may include:
The symptoms of osteoarthritis can be like other health conditions. Make sure to see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
The process starts with a medical history and a physical exam. You may also have x-rays. This test uses a small amount of radiation to create images of bone and other body tissues.
Treatment will depend on your symptoms, your age, and your general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. The goal of treatment is to reduce joint pain and stiffness, and improve joint movement. Treatment may include:
Because osteoarthritis causes joints to degenerate over time, it can cause disability. It can cause pain and movement problems that cause a person to be less able to carry out normal daily activities and tasks.
Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, it is important to help keep joints functioning by reducing pain and inflammation. Work on a treatment plan with your health care provider that includes medication and therapy. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life. Lifestyle changes include:
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints.
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