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Orthopaedic Surgeon in Orange County

The bones, joins, and muscles that allow your body to move throughout the day are designed to work together like a well-oiled machine. Yet there are times when parts of your musculoskeletal system demand attention to keep everything functioning without distracting pain. If you are experiencing persistent aches and pains that aren't responding well to home remedies such as getting a little rest and applying some ice or heat, your doctor may refer you an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County for any of the common problems that may affect your musculoskeletal system.

Muscle Strain and Sprain

Stretching muscles beyond their normal range-of-motion may result in muscle strains and sprains. While often used interchangeably, there are important differences that will determine what type of treatment will likely provide relief. When thick bands of tissues that connect two or more bones to joints (ligaments) become over-stretched or torn, it's referred to as a sprain. When the same thing happens to muscles or tendons, it's a sprain. While any part of the body may be affected, knee, ankle, and shoulder joints are frequent locations affected by strains and sprains.

The initial treatment of strains and sprains involves the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. Severe sprains and strains not responding to conservative treatments may require surgery to repair tears or reattach tissues to bones. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is one of the most common soft tissues affected by damage from wear and tear or injury. Whether or not surgery is an option will depend on several factors, including:

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  • The degree of damage to the affected muscle, tendon, or ligament
  • Whether or not joint function is significantly impaired
  • The stability of the nearby joint
  • Response to physical therapy and non-surgical options like bracing
  • Normal level of physical activity and how quality of life is affected

Joint Problems

Overexertion and overuse injuries often result in joint pain. Oftentimes, the discomfort experienced is due to inflammation around the affected joint caused by a strain, sprain, or fracture that results in pain associated with movement. Arthritis is the most common condition that can affect any of the joints in the body.

There are over a hundred types of arthritis, although joints are typically affected by osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriatic arthritis. Because it's a progressive condition, how arthritis is treated will depend on how well inflammation is managed and whether or not there has been significant damage to joints and adjacent tissues. Joints may also be affected by:

  • Inflammatory conditions like tendonitis and bursitis
  • Infectious diseases
  • Dislocation

Persistent Back Pain

Chronic low back pain (LBP) is a common reason for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County for further evaluation. Pain related to the spine can be either direct or indirect, as may be the case if adjacent nerves, such as the sciatic nerve, are compressed ("pinched"). Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is another common source of back pain that may result in disc herniation or the slippage of one spinal disc over the adjacent one (spondylolisthesis).

LBP, in particular, can be notoriously difficult to diagnose since there may be many contributing factors. In order to achieve an accurate diagnosis of any type of back pain, an orthopaedic surgeon may use of the following diagnostic techniques:

  • Image tests (X-rays, CT scans, MRIs)
  • An electromyogram (EMG)to check for muscle and nerve damage
  • Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests
  • Epidural injections to determine if relief is experienced to confirm a pain source

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Sports-Related Injuries

Another common reason for referral to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County is because of some type of sports-related injury that's not responding well to other attempts at treatment. Whether you normally play sports in the backyard on weekends or competitively, injuries can quickly sideline you. Not doing a proper warm-up and wearing ill-fitting equipment are some of the factors that can contribute to such injuries, with the most common ones that may be treated by an orthopaedic surgeon including:

  • Strains and sprains (especially ankle strains and hamstring strains)
  • Knee injuries (ACL tears, patellofemoral syndrome)
  • Shin splints
  • Fractures and dislocations
  • Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

Being referred to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County doesn't mean surgery is going to be your only option. The primary goal of an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County is make an accurate diagnose of what's causing your discomfort. It's a process that typically includes an evaluation of your overall health, consideration of your medical history, and diagnostic tests to rule out or confirm suspected issues with your bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, or muscles. Barring a medical emergency, surgery only becomes an option for most patients when other treatments aren't effective.