Best Orthopedic Surgeons in Orange County
Back pain and sports-related injuries are just some of the reasons patients often seek care from the best orthopedic surgeons in Orange County. Various orthopedic conditions account for nearly 500 million accumulated days of limited or restricted work activity each year. Conditions involving the bones, joints, muscles, and soft tissues throughout the human body can affect anyone of any age and have a noticeable impact on quality of life. Due to the diverse nature of musculoskeletal conditions, it's important to receive an accurate diagnosis of the problem so an appropriate treatment plan can be recommended.
Who Seeks Treatment and Why?
Children and teenagers are more likely to seek treatment from the best orthopedic surgeons in Orange County for sports-related injuries. Overuse and repetitive motion injuries and stress fractures are among the most common injuries reported by athletically active adolescent and preadolescent patients. Younger swimmers may experience shoulder pain while runners may develop periostitis ("shin splints") and youth baseball players may have pain from "Little League elbow," a chronic overuse condition from repetitive throwing motions.
Children may also be referred to an orthopedic surgeon if they're experiencing growth abnormalities. Since younger bones and tissues are still developing and growing, orthopedic specialists approach such conditions differently. With Osgood-Schlatter's disease, children may experience pain while jumping or running due to excessive tension in the patellar tendon. Boys under the age of 10 tend to be more susceptible to developing persistent pain when the Achilles tendon attaches itself to part of the growth plate (Sever's disease). Orthopedists may also treat children with growth-plate fractures or an abnormal sideways curvature of the spine (idiopathic scoliosis).
Older adults are more likely to have chronic (lasting 3-6 months or more) orthopedic conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three adults 65 and older have osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that can affect any joint in the body, although knees, hands, ankles, and the spine are frequent areas where pain is experienced. The best orthopedic surgeons in Orange County are also able to address chronic pain issues related to:
- Disc herniation or slippage due to degenerative disc disease
- Dislocations from a fall
- Fractures due to lower bone density
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How is an Accurate Diagnosis Made?
Orthopedic surgeons typically consider a patient's overall health and medical history as part of the process of making an accurate diagnosis. Some orthopedic conditions, such as non-specific low back pain, are notoriously difficult to diagnose since many factors can contribute to discomfort. If radiating nerve pain is involved, as is often the case with sciatica, the actual source of the pain isn't where the symptoms are felt. Tests are typically done to determine where the nerve is being compressed.
Testing is also necessary if an orthopedic surgeon wants to rule out other possible conditions or confirm a suspected diagnosis. Diagnostic tests performed to achieve either of these goals may include:
- Image tests (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans)
- Nerve conduction studies
- Arthrography using a contrast dye
- Bone scans
- Joint aspiration and analysis
When is Orthopedic Surgery Necessary or Recommended?
As a general rule, surgery to correct an orthopedic condition is a last resort unless there is a pressing medical urgency. The best orthopedic surgeons in Orange County make a point of staying up-to-date with trends and technology to offer patients a variety of treatment options. Techniques such as epidural steroid injections and electrotherapy in the form of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) may allow patients to put off surgery or avoid it altogether.
If other attempts at pain relief aren't effective or symptoms are becoming progressively disruptive, surgery may be the best option to minimize discomfort. Common surgical procedures performed by some of the best orthopedic surgeons include:
- Arthroscopic surgery with special instruments and a small camera
- Fusion to prevent movement in a specific area, usually within the spine
- Joint replacement (partial, total, or a revision)
- Internal fixation to hold fractured bones together with screws, plates, and pins to facilitate healing
- Soft tissue repair
The best orthopedic surgeons in Orange County know that treatment involves more than just identifying a likely source of pain and taking steps to ease discomfort. Preventative and follow-up care can be equally beneficial for patients looking to minimize their risk of experiencing the same type of pain again in the future. Tips often recommended by many of the top orthopedic surgeons include being mindful of posture, paying attention to proper form when exercising or participating in sports, and adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes smart diet choices and regular physical activity.