Whether it involves a sports injury, degenerative joint disease, repetitive use complaint, or developmental bone problems, one in seven people in the United States has some sort of orthopedic impairment, making orthopedic complaints the most common indication for people to see a doctor. Physicians who practice this branch of medicine are known generally as orthopedic surgeons even though not all of them perform surgery. In the course of a typical practice, an orthopedic surgeon is likely to see some complaints more than others.
A Brief History of Orthopedics
Originally, the practice of orthopedics dealt with treating conditions primarily affecting children, such as the complications of polio infection and developmental deformities. This is reflected in the name, as “ped” is a Greek root meaning “child,” and “ortho” is a Greek root meaning “correct.” Over time, however, the practice of orthopedics expanded to treat all diseases and conditions of the musculoskeletal system in patients of all ages, from the very young to the elderly.
The 5 Most Common Orthopedic Injuries
Orthopedic injuries can be either acute, occurring as a result of sudden force or trauma, or chronic, meaning that they occur gradually over time. Here are some of the most common orthopedic injuries southern Iowa:
- Rotator Cuff Tear
The rotator cuff consists of the muscles and tendons that move the shoulder joint and hold it in place. Because of the shoulder’s broad range of motion, these structures are vulnerable to tearing.
- Medial and Lateral Epicondylitis
These conditions go by the more common names of golfer’s/baseball elbow and tennis elbow, respectively. The tendons involved in flexion and extension of your wrist connect to your upper arm bone, just above your elbow. Forceful or repeated wrist motions can put stress on these tendons and cause painful swelling.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel is a space between the bones of your wrist allowing your median nerve to travel to your hands and fingers. Repetitive hand motions can cause swelling in the area of the carpal tunnel, compressing the median nerve and causing numbness/tingling, weakness, and sometimes pain.
- Hip Fracture
Hip fractures can happen at any age, though they are most common in the elderly. A trauma, such as a fall or car accident, causes the thigh bone to break near the point where it connects to your pelvis.
- Meniscus tear
The meniscus is a crescent-shaped cartilage structure in your knee that acts as a shock absorber. Each knee has two menisci, one on either side. A turning or twisting motion while the knee is bent can cause tearing of either meniscus.
If you sustain an orthopedic injury as the result of someone else’s actions, you may be able to seek legal compensation.